Tag Archives: Postcard Valet
January 30, 2012

PVX: Thai Drinking Game

View the same video in high-definition (720p) on Youtube.

The first time I walked into a 7/11 in Thailand, the sheer number of drinks in the coolers blew my mind.  There were dozens of brands and flavors and I because couldn’t make heads or tails of their swirly writing, I had no idea what most of them were.  I wanted to try them all…! but with my luck, I knew I’d end up with something like “Shrimp-Mussel Juice.”  Sampling a random drink in Thailand would be like Russian Roulette, only my taste buds would be at stake.

Knowing that our friends were on the way, Oksana and I decided to wait for them before playing “Thai Roulette.”  I mentioned the idea to Wendy and Dusty (from Roam the Planet) and their friend Sarah.  They were game!

We decided to film the whole thing, because it seemed like it might be entertaining for you to watch us taste all these mystery drinks and because  Wendy and Dusty had just brought us a new point-and-shoot camera (to replace our ailing Panasonic Lumix.)  It was a Sony TX10, which boasts 1080p video.  Since they had the exact same model, we shot with both cameras to see if the footage would match well in editing.  It was also a good test for me, to find out if our new camera could double as a camcorder in a pinch.  (Answer: No. You can read my thoughts on that after the jump.)

During one of our first meals together, I laid out the ground rules for the little drinking game I’d created in my head.   Then we hit the stores, buying our drinks in secret, and then revealed them to each other later that evening.  Unfortunately, when we did, it was raining outside our hotel and the cameras picked up a lot of street noise while we were recording.

This video turned out much longer than I expected — close to half an hour!  Now, I could spend many more hours whittling it down to just the funniest parts, but that goes against my self-imposed guidelines for these “Postcard Valet Extra” videos.  (Also, it sounds like a lot of work!)  So I left pretty much everything in, including some awkward jump cuts and blurry video.  On the plus side, if you stick it out, you’ll get to see every little grimace as we sample 10 crazy Thai drinks.  If half an hour is too much of a commitment, feel free to use the time markers above to jump to the section that sounds most interesting.


February 9, 2011

Burn out

Oksana and I just passed the 90-day mark on our time out of the country.  I think it’s fair to say we’ve both experienced a bit of homesickness during that time.  On nights where we’re too tired to go out and find something to eat, Oksana misses our kitchen.  When I got sick (I mean, really sick), I missed our bed, and more, our bathroom!

We’re in La Paz, Bolivia right now, taking advantage of some down time.  It feels like we’ve been rushing since we spent the New Year in Lima, partly because we’d promised to meet some friends in Uyuni in early February.  Well, we made that date, but we had to bail out of our planned 3-day tour with them when both Oksana and I came down with some really nasty intestinal thing.

Being on the run hasn’t been conducive to sitting down and editing podcast videos.  At the end of the day, by the time I’ve managed to upload some photos, update our GPS track, and post a few updates on Facebook and Twitter, I’m usually too mentally wiped out to sit down and tackle hours of video.  Before we leave La Paz again, though, I’m going to post at least one new video (about Ecuador’s tagua nuts.  I know… what?!)

We have a ton of videos in the pipeline, however.  More on that in a sec…


December 24, 2010

A Christmas wish

Postcard Valet iTunes logo
I have a favor to ask.  A Christmas wish, if you like.

As you probably know, we have a video podcast on iTunes.  One of the best ways to advertise a podcast is to get it to “float to the top” in the iTunes directory.  In order for that to happen for Postcard Valet, we need to have a few ratings (more than 25, I think.)  Now, we have no illusions that Postcard Valet will top the charts or anything, but it sure would be nice if it were to show up on the first page of search results in the travel podcast section!

So, if you’d like to give Oksana and me a wonderful – and super simple! – Christmas preset, head on over to our iTunes page, click “View in iTunes,” and rate our podcast for us!  I’ll bet it’ll take you under a minute (maybe five if you want to leave us some constructive criticism, too)…

For those that take the time to do this for us, I would love to send you a South American thank you postcard in return; just email me your address afterwards and I’ll get right on it!

A couple notes:

If you don’t have iTunes installed, it’s a free download from Apple.

After installing iTunes, you’ll have everything you need to subscribe to our podcast.  New episodes will be delivered to iTunes as soon as we post them – you don’t even need to have an iPod or anything like that!

After iTunes is installed, subscribing to our podcast is as simple as clicking the following link: http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=380887692

( If, for some reason, that doesn’t work, follow these directions:
1) Open iTunes
2) Click on the Advanced menu and select “Subscribe to Podcast…”
3) Copy and paste the same link into the box: http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=380887692
4) Enjoy! )

And finally, you may have noticed a new Facebook widget in the sidebar over there on the right.  The Postcard Valet Facebook page is Oksana’s new project and if we can 6 more people to “Like” the page – we’re at 19 now – it’ll unlock a few features (such as a custom URL) that she’s eager to implement.  A click there would also be much appreciated!

April 12, 2010

Introducing Postcard Valet

From this to that

I haven’t posted a blog entry about blogging in awhile.   Nothing more boring, really.  But sharing the jumble of ideas in my head is sometimes an effective way of sorting it all out.

As you may know, Oksana and I are gearing up to leave on a round-the-world trip and I’ve been busy setting up a new web site for it.  I don’t expect the new site to be 100% done until we start off on our journey (on, or around, July 1st,) but that doesn’t mean it isn’t ready to be seen.  Consider this our website’s “soft launch.”  Please, take a look:  www.postcardvalet.com.

Setting up that website was a lot harder than I thought it’d be!  I spent a lot of time switching over my web hosting and domain name to Dreamhost and, once I figured out their new control panel, I set about importing my blog’s database.  One of my primary goals in this whole endeavor was to keep posting to my personal blog (A Midgett Blog, this one)  while having the new, travel-only blog (Postcard Valet) simply pull pertinent posts from the same database.  The Domain Mirror plug-in solved that fairly easily, but when I decided to buy the Postcard WooTheme, I ran into all sorts of difficulties.  A friend, Pat, is helping me smooth out some of the kinks, but I suspect there will always be a few things I can’t do, just because I need each entry to display correctly on both blogs.

If you take a look at Postcard Valet, you’ll notice that I’ve already seeded the site with a number of travel-related blog posts from A Midgett Blog.  That should at least give anyone that stumbles upon the site an idea of what to expect.  I’ve spent some time working on the FAQ (a great place to start if all this is news to you!) and Contact pages, too, but there’s still work to do on the About This Site, Archives, and a yet-to-be-created “Subscribe to the Podcast” page.

In the next week or so, I hope to find enough time (and knowledge!) to get our podcast listed in the iTunes directory (currently the “Podcast (iTunes)” link in the sidebar only links to my own RSS feed – but I think it works if you want to subscribe early.)  Oksana and I also plan to record video introductions for the About This Site page as well as keep plugging along on our “practice” video podcasts.

Speaking of.  Tomorrow will be the start of a regular schedule of postings, beginning with a video podcast we’ve been working on about the Sydney Opera House.  Hopefully that will kick off a new schedule.  From now until July 1st, I’m going to try to commit to the following:

  • First Monday of the month: A new video podcast episode.
  • Every Wednesday: A written blog entry. (This may be a travel story, a short update on our travel preparations, or possibly even website-related stuff like the “How to Subscribe” or a “What is a Podcast” page.)
  • Every Friday:  A “picture with a story” blog entry.  I think of this as “Photo Friday,” and it will likely follow the same format I’ve used in the past.

Considering all the packing and planning we have to do in the next three months (on top of our full time jobs!) I think that’s an ambitious schedule.  If you like what you see, do me a favor and keep me on task.  Any feedback you give, criticism or praise, translates directly into valuable motivation.

So, please, take a look at our new website, try to see past the rough edges for now, and let me know if there’s anything that’s missing or that we could be doing better.

June 3, 2009

Around the World in 365 Days

Arlo and Oksana on their first solo trip together, Costa Rica, 2003

This is an announcement I’ve been looking forward to making for a long time:

Oksana and I just quit our jobs!

Okay, not really. I just wanted to get your attention.

But actually, really! It’s just that our last day of work isn’t going to come around until next summer.  That’s right; we’ve put in our one year’s notice!  Next June, all our crap goes into storage and we set off on a long-planned, round-the-world trip.

This is something we’ve been talking about since before we married.  Before we could commit to such a bold move, we had to make sure we were in a position of security – with our finances, our education, our work experience, etc.

(Funny thing we learned about financial security: Once you’ve got it, it’s surprisingly hard to let go.)

This is why we haven’t settled down.  It’s why we were so anxious to stay out of debt, why we haven’t bought a house, and most definitely one of the reasons why we haven’t yet entertained the idea of having kids.

So, as excited as we are to shoulder a backpack and set off for the ends of the earth, we’re also a little bit freaked out.  Will our jobs be waiting for us when we get back? (Magic 8-Ball says: Outlook Good.)  Will the economy implode while we’re gone?  Do any of the big security questions even matter if we’re off having the experience of a lifetime?


Where are we going?  No idea.  We don’t have (and probably won’t ever have) an itinerary.

Caminante no hay camino, se hace camino al andar.
Wanderer, there is no path; the path is made by walking.


November 25, 2008

Transient Books

This is an experiment.  I’m very interested in getting feedback.

Also, visit Transient Books.