Thursday, February 27, 2014

Four Corners Monument – In A Colorado Minute (Week 200)

Four Corners Monument - In A Colorado Minute (Week 200) from Luci Westphal on Vimeo.

For the 200th week of my weekly 1-minute video series Moving Postcard (currently in its In A Colorado Minute phase), I wanted to do and show you something extra special. So my husband Scott, our dog Whiskey and I took a road trip down south to the only place in the United States where four states meet: Four Corners Monument.

The states are Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. But it should definitely not be forgotten that this landmark is actually on Navajo Nation land. So really it should be called "Four Corners in a Circle" or something like that.

The featured song in this week's video is "Wasted Time" by Four Dollar Wine (aka Timo Sander + Scott Solary). Admittedly, I speed it up a tiny bit. Check out the song the way it was intended here:

By the way, I just liked the song (especially because we listened to the whole album while driving around the Four Corners area) and in no way mean to imply that going to Four Corners is "wasted time." While people had warned us that Four Corners is underwhelming, I have to disagree.

Some of my reasons: The landscape around there and on the drive from the North East is so stunning and certainly different from the landscapes I'm used to. I think that roadside attractions have a wonderful energy from all the travelers who have crisscrossed the globe to all stand in this one place. I guess, to me, American roadside attractions are the temples of the people worshiping travel, especially car travel. Last but not least, we had such fun hopping from state to state, taking goofy pictures (unfortunately, pets aren't allowed in the center site, so we couldn't get the desired picture of Whiskey with each of her paws in a different state), collecting souvenirs, shooting this video, and having a shot of Whiskey in each state.

By the way, me tossing the coin onto the quadripoint and then pushing it into another state's corner with my foot is an homage to the scene in Breaking Bad (Season 4, Episode 6, "Cornered") when Skyler tosses a coin to let fate decide if she should run or return to New Mexico and then moves the coin to a different quadrant. Sometimes we need to take fate into our own hands; Skyler did and so did I ;-)

Our entire road trip during Week 200 was so amazing and brought to reality the Hunter S. Thompson quote I've taken as an inspiration ever since I first saw the illustration my friend Claire Webster drew for it (a copy of which now hangs in our house): “Sleep late, have fun, get wild, drink whiskey and drive fast on empty streets with nothing in mind but falling in love and not getting arrested.” Check out the illustration on her "Clairikine. Transcultural comic & stuff" website:

We saw so many cool places in the south of Colorado I would like to share with you that I have decided to change my approach to the weekly videos a little bit. Instead of shooting, editing and publishing a current video each week (the whole series started as a kind of journal for myself and a moving postcard from the current week to friends and family around the world), for the next few weeks and maybe longer I will sometimes publish a video with footage I have shoot not in that week but during a prior week or month. This way, I'll be able to share videos shot during the 200th week in other weeks to come.

A big THANK YOU to everyone who has watched 1 or 200 of my weekly videos. You are what keeps me going and inspires me to go out and explore every week. I'm so grateful for your views, comments, shares and the bonds we have created.

Last but not least, a thank you to everyone who has provided free music for this series!

Four Corners Monument - where Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico meet

Monday, February 24, 2014

Best Coast - "Sunny Adventure" / Be Your Own Pet - "Adventure" (MusicMonday)

Real quick Music Monday post before we hit the road… for a little adventure doing my 200th week of making 1-minute Moving Postcard videos!

With that plan in mind, here are two of my favorite road trip songs:

"Sunny Adventure" by Best Coast

"Adventure" by Be Your Own Pet

be your own pet - adventure

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Photos of Roadside Attractions in Fort Collins, Colorado

These are a few photos of the three roadside attractions found in Fort Collins, Colorado. I took these pictures while shooting the 1-minute video "Roadside Attractions in Fort Collins – In A Colorado Minute (Week 199)".

Watch the video and read more about these attractions HERE.

Whiskey dog checks out the statue of Annie, the railroad dog
Fort Collins, Colorado

Statue or Annie, the railroad dog -  by Dawn Weiner
Fort Collins, Colorado

Memorial Annie, the railroad dog
Fort Collins, Colorado

Whiskey and Annie's metal silhouette, memorial stone and marker for the annual Annie's Dog Walk
Fort Collins, Colorado

Memorial for Annie, the railroad dog, and marker for the annual Annie's Dog Walk
Library Park, Fort Collins, Colorado

Grave of Annie, the railroad dog
Fort Collins, Colorado

Whiskey dog and the Campbell's soup can on CSU campus
Fort Collins, Colorado

Whiskey dog snubs Andy Warhol homage soup can
CSU, Fort Collins, Colorado

Warhol Exhibition, CSU, 1981
Fort Collins, Colorado 
Real Andy Warhol signature on a student-made Campbell's soup can
Fort Collins, Colorado

Scrap metal robot man and dog - by Tim Reader
Fort Collins, Colorado

Robot made entirely out of car metal
Fort Collins, Colorado

Scrap metal robot at Nelsen's Auto Tech
Fort Collins, Colorado

Robot hand holding dog leash
Fort Collins, Colorado

Scrap metal robot dog
Fort Collins, Colorado

Whiskey dog visits robot dog

Scrap car metal robot face - by Tim Reader
Fort Collins, Colorado

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Roadside Attractions in Fort Collins - In A Colorado Minute (Week 199)

Roadside Attractions in Fort Collins - In A Colorado Minute (Week 199) from Luci Westphal on Vimeo.

When I posted the video Swetsville Zoo - In A Colorado Minute (Week 194), I already wrote about my fascination with roadside attractions. In my quest to visit, film and share with you a whole series of them, this week I explored the ones the fruitful website listed for Fort Collins.
Because two of them were dog related, I took Whiskey and her acting coach Scott along. Once I finished editing, I realized I might as well have called the video "Whiskey takes a tour of Fort Collins Roadside Attractions" - but that's just too long.

The large Campbell's soup can on the campus of Colorado State University was built (together with two others) in honor of Andy Warhol's soup can prints - but not by him. However, when he visited in 1981 for an exhibit of his work at the CSU art museum, he ended up signing the cans. Does that now make them authentic Andy Warhol works? Read an excerpt from Warhol's diary about his visit in this article from the Coloradoan. (Remington and Lake)

The scrap metal man and dog at the Nelsen's Auto Center were built by Tim Reader of Master Metal Works entirely out of used car parts. You may note that the two male metal beings were built with all necessary detail - however, in the video I chose to focus more on the faces, hands and my real life dog checking out the scene. I really appreciated Tim's sister coming outside to say hello and tell us about the sculpture. People really are nice out here. (361 E. Mountain Avenue)

The memorial to Annie, the Railroad Dog, has several parts. In Library Park (201 Peterson Street), there is a big engraved stone with a metal silhouette of Annie and a life-sized bronze sculpture (by Dawn Weiner) of her greeting passers-by - like she used to greet arriving passengers at the Mason Street train station in the 1930s and 40s. At the Mason Street Depot (Mason and LaPorte) you can find her actual gravestone, which is a historic site and reads "From C and S Men to Annie Our Dog. 1934 - 1948."

Annie was a loyal mutt adopted by railroad workers and considered an ambassador to Fort Collins, according to the inscription on the base of the bronze sculpture. She is still celebrated every year during Annie's Dog Walk, which I may just feature in a future video.

Talking about future videos... Today starts the 200th week of my weekly 1-minute Moving Postcard videos! I already have something special planned, which will require a road trip (YES!) and will feature a rather well-known American roadside attraction...

The song in this video is "Swallowed By The Sea" - written and performed by Jason Matherne of Goonygoogoo Productions.

Campbell's soup can (homage to Andy Warhol) + Whiskey dog

Monday, February 17, 2014

The National - "I Need My Girl" - Official Video (MusicMonday)

Probably my favorite song from Trouble Will Find Me, the latest album by The National, finally has an official video: "I Need My Girl" - directed by Sophia Peer.

The black-and-white video fits the dark simple song perfectly with couples slowly holding on to each other, barely dancing and the camera spinning around them.

Make sure you watch the later part of the video when multiple layers of video overlap and a multitude of dancers create a beautiful kaleidoscope effect.

There had been a live performance video from the Fallon show, which I had posted back in May 2013 together with a download link for a previous live recording from Canadian radio station.

I Need My Girl - The National

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Photos from a snowshoeing hike in Colorado

Here are a few photos I took last week while shooting the 1-minute video "Snowshoeing With Whiskey Dog – In A Colorado Minute (Week 198)" in an off-shoot of the Poudre Canyon in Northern Colorado, not far from Fort Collins.

You can watch the video HERE.

Driving along the Cache la Poudre River

The little side valley of Poudre Canyon we went exploring

Whiskey and our snowshoes

Colorful rock

What you see when you go snowshoeing in Colorado: snow, clouds, sky, sunshine, rocks, plants

Big red rock covered in snow

Fallen tree

Tree growing out of the rocks

Small red rock covered in snow

Whiskey in the snow

Those wing-fruits

The moon rising on the hike back

The moon guiding our way through the canyon

Moon through the branches

Friday, February 14, 2014

Snowshoeing With Whiskey Dog - In A Colorado Minute (Week 198)

Snowshoeing With Whiskey Dog - In A Colorado Minute (Week 198) from Luci Westphal on Vimeo.

To go snowshoeing has been a dream of mine ever since my brother Asterix and I were little kids and would go on imaginary Arctic explorations as we pulled our sleds across the snow-covered fields behind our house.

This week, Scott and I made this dream come true when we pulled off the road along Poudre Canyon (in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains), strapped snowshoes to our boots and walked out into the snow-covered unknown.

Of course, we had our dog Whiskey by our side - however, any attempts to get her to be protected by footwear was thwarted by her just walking right out of them. But in the video you can see how much fun she had and how awesome it is to go snowshoeing with dogs. Just make sure you bring a towel to dry their feet every once in a while and if your dog's size allows, be ready to carry your pup for a little while.

Walking through untouched beautiful nature with those I love - and without running into any other hikers - was absolute bliss.

Snowshoes don't exactly allow you to walk on top of the snow as you can see in the video, but they let you stay on top a bit better and push snow away from around your boots - so your boots and feet stay dry and mostly warm. Now you can really take your time and explore areas that aren't as maintained and crowded as more common hiking trails.

Now, the next step is to go cross-country skiing - so we can glide along quietly and maybe catch the glimpse of some animals without disturbing them. Until then, we'll take every chance we get to go snowshoeing again!

A personal tip for a snowy hike: wear weather-resistant pants and bring a sturdy blanket and drinks/food, so you can sit down for a pick-nick in the snow.

This week's special thank you goes to Deanna for giving me the weather-resistant pants and snowshoes!

The featured song is the instrumental version of "Only Whispering" by Josh Woodward, who makes this and most of his songs available through a Creative Commons license via his website: Thank you, Josh!

Whiskey and the snowshoes

Monday, February 10, 2014

Walter Martin & Karen O. - "Sing To Me" (MusicMonday)

"Sing To Me" is a very sweet declaration of love and friendship sung by Walter Martin of The Walkmen and Karen O. of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

It's the first single from the upcoming album We're All Young Together by Walter Martin of The Walkmen to be released May 13th. The record will feature guest vocals by Matt Berninger of The National and Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, among others. 

All the songs on the album are supposedly clever enough for adult listening, yet innocent enough for an audience of children. "Sing To Me" definitely fits that theme.

No matter if you spend time with friends, family, a spouse or your cool cat this week - I hope you will all feel and appreciate the ones you love and who love you. Happy Valentine's Week!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Narrows, Poudre Canyon (Time Lapse) - In A Colorado Minute (Week 197)

The Narrows, Poudre Canyon (Time Lapse) - In A Colorado Minute (Week 197) from Luci Westphal on Vimeo.

The Poudre Canyon is a glacier-formed valley cut by the Cache la Poudre River through the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains in Rocky Mountain National Park and Roosevelt National Forest just North West of Fort Collins, Colorado.

State Highway 14 runs through most of it, providing beautiful vistas of the river and the walls of the canyon, which for the most part are sloping forested hills, but get steep and dramatically close together during the section called The Narrows.

In this 1-minute video you see the section starting just before the Mishawaka music bar/restaurant and ending just after The Narrows - heading west. In a longer version of this video (going online tomorrow), you'll be able to see a longer section and the reverse view heading east. I thought the view heading west was a bit more interesting because you get to see more of the ice and snow covered river on the right side of the street. However, during film of the reverse, less ice crystals got stuck on the camera so the view is a little clearer.

I shot this with a GoPro Hero 3 from the hood of our car. A big thanks to Peter Verchick of Flower Power Botanicals ( for letting me borrow the camera.

The featured song is "Half Boy Half Girl" by Jason Matherne of Goonygoogoo Productions ( Thank you, Jason!

The area at the end of this video is where we plan to go snowshoeing in a few days, which will most likely be the subject of the 198th 1-minute video I plan on publishing next Thursday.

Two more weeks after that will be the 200th week of 1-minute videos (some weeks had more than one video, so I think the 200th video already happened). I'm actually not sure what I should film for that milestone. Any suggestions? I'll be happy to drive for a few hours for an extra special location... Maybe Mount Rushmore? Is the Grand Canyon too far?

What I do know already is that I'd like to feature the Poudre Canyon again during the summer time. It's just such a beautiful place.

Tunnel through the narrows in Poudre Canyon, Colorado

Monday, February 3, 2014

Good-Bye, New York City - In A Brooklyn Minute (Week 196)

Good-Bye, New York City - In A Brooklyn Minute (Week 196) from Luci Westphal on Vimeo.

The day finally arrived this week: Scott and I (with more fun distraction than help from Whiskey) packed up our apartment in Brooklyn and said our good-byes to our NYC friends and totally and officially moved out of New York City after 15 years of calling the Big Apple our home (even while spending long periods of time in Berlin and Colorado). Even though our official homes are now in Colorado and in Berlin (where we still have an apartment), in my heart I think I'll always be a New Yorker.

So you can imagine that it was quite sad to say good-bye to my big city love New York. While I had good intentions to make some pilgrimages and film my favorite spots or focus on one significant place I hadn't featured in my In A Brooklyn Minute videos yet, in the end there wasn't really time to spend a whole day or afternoon filming. Instead, I decided to cut together a 1-minute video from some of my favorite places and footage collected over the 3 years of making this web series. This also allowed Scott, Whiskey and me to just roam around our city one more time without worrying about getting good footage. That last afternoon was especially lovely. Also, we recorded one special "saying bye-bye" shot for the end of this video on that last day in Brooklyn.

My first cut of the "Best of 3 Years of NYC" was over 9 minutes long... too many great places, too many meaningful shots. Consequently, I had to chop a lot - kind of with one eye closed. I can't say that this is my best material or that these are the most significant place of NY - it's just what ended up on top while making lots of Sophie's choices. To see more of Brooklyn, Manhattan and even Queens (sorry, Staten Island and The Bronx, I never got around to film you for this series) and to make up your own mind as to what you like best, please check out all the In A Brooklyn Minute videos here:

I'd like to send a special thank you, a big hug and much love to all my friends, whom I met during my 15 years in New York City. You have all made such a difference in my life and you will always be my family. It was so wonderful to see so many of you again this week and to talk to so many others, who had already moved out of the city prior, on the phone, Skype and chat during the last few weeks. It really does feel as if surviving and thriving in a city like New York, with all the challenges (and the fun) it provides, makes friendships even warmer, deeper and stronger. I love you all and can't wait to see you in Colorado, Oakland, Atlanta, Vermont, Tokyo or wherever we meet next. Until then we have Skype, FaceTime, SMS, all kinds of chat apps, Google Hangouts and just plain ol' phone calls.

Oh, and if anyone gets the idea that posting this video means that it's the last in my Moving Postcard web series, then I can assure you: it's not. The series will continue as it has since May 2010: a weekly 1-minute video from wherever I am. For the coming week I'll be shooting in Colorado again. And for the 200th week, which is coming up in 3 weeks, I have no clue yet where I'll be...

The song featured in this video is the instrumental version of "Hell Came For Breakfast" by Jason Matherne, who has been my friend for just under 20 years and who has provided most of the music in this series. Please check out his Soundcloud page for lots of free music downloads:

Thank you for watching and sharing my videos!
xx Luci