Monthly Archives: July 2012

Twin Cities Couch Fest, 2012

Picture of castle.

A castle near Minnehaha Falls.

The 2012 Twin Cities Couch Fest was a fun weekend, as expected. I saw with a lot of the people I met last year at the Madison Couch Crash, some of whom will be in town this coming weekend for our latest couch crash.

Highlights of the weekend included seeing a group of Mexican dancers give us an impromptu performance, walking around the park near Minnehaha Falls, eating a bison burger at Burger Jones on Lake Calhoun, and stopping in Rochester on the way home for a visit with some old friends.

Now to get prepared for this weekend's events...

More Couch Fest photos

Madison Couch Crash Preview Video #3

Here's the final preview movie for our Couch Crash, which is next weekend. The focus of this video is the bicycle tour and all that you can see around town.

A Couch Crash is a CouchSurfing event in which we invite people from around the world to partake in a weekend of festivities in our city.

For more info, check out our official website.

Madisen's Fourth Birthday

Picture of Madisen.

Madisen gets ready to blow out the candles.

My niece's fourth birthday party was a couple of weeks ago. Actually it was her fifth birthday, but she turned four. She especially liked this Minnie Mouse thing, and I had no idea what it was. Happy birthday Maddie!

More Photos

Madison Couch Crash Preview Video #2

This is the second of three preview movies I made for the 2012 Madison Couch Crash, which will take place July 26-29. This video shows off the inside of the capitol building.

A Couch Crash is a CouchSurfing event in which we invite people from around the world to partake in a weekend of festivities in our city.

For more info, check out our official website.

Crashing Columbus

Picture of Columbus Couch Surfers.

Me with my CS hosts and other guests.

I left the Turk Museum tired, but in a great mood. It was Friday night, and the first major night of the Columbus Couch Crash. For those of you who aren't familiar, a couch crash is an event that has grown in popularity over the last few years on The idea is that you invite couchsurfers from around the country (or indeed, the world) to visit your city for a long weekend of activities. I had never been to Columbus, so I figured, why not?

Columbus was a fun city, a university town like Madison, though a lot bigger. On the bike ride, I got to see some unique places, such as a park with a bunch of old buildings, graffiti, and an old theater. The city had an old, industrial feel, which was a good thing.

Picture of bunny and cat.

Liz's bunny and cat both like to eat plants.

The other highlight was the party on the replica of the Santa Maria. I knew a little about Columbus' first voyage to the New World, but walking around his ship really put into perspective how daring his journey was. Attempting to sail across an ocean to a new continent that may not have existed for all he knew took some cajones. It was really cool to have a few beers in the same space, or even a replica thereof.

Also, Liz was an awesome host. She was really welcoming all weekend and even cooked a couple of meals for me and the other guests. And she and her partner Newby were the first people I had met who were raising bunnies for food. I just hope they don't get too attached before, you know...

Photos from the 2012 Columbus Couch Crash.

2012 Madison Couch Crash Planning Video #1

The 2012 Madison Couch Crash is coming July 26-29. Here's the first in a series of promotional videos I made for the couch crash.

A Couch Crash is a CouchSurfing event in which we invite people from around the world to partake in a weekend of festivities in our city. This video highlights some of the sights you'll see in downtown Madison if you come.

For more info, check out our official website.

The Turk Museum

Picture of Dan and Dr. Turk.

Dr. Turk and I at a Chinese restaurant.

After a long drive to Dayton, OH, I rang Dr. Turk's doorbell. The last time I saw him was on a road trip to Florida with my parents in 2006. We had met a few months earlier in Antarctica when he saw my nice camera and asked if he could have some of my photos. I sent him a CD and a friendship was born.

Dr. Turk looked as great as the last time I saw him, and with a comment that was something like “you're too skinny,” he whisked me away to a fancy restaurant for a fantastic dinner which would set the pace for the next two days. Included in my stay were tickets to a crappy musical, a trip to the Air Force museum, a glance at a pool that hadn't been open for two summers, and lots and lots of eating.

Just as with my last visit, I was blown away by Dr. Turk's house, dubbed The Turk Museum. As a lifelong traveler, he has amassed a huge collection of artifacts from around the world. The suit of armor made me jump more than once when I thought nobody else was home. His chess sets have such intricately carved pieces, I can’t even imagine how much labor went into making them. His porcelain Lladro's and painted ostrich egg were true works of art, and his collection of old medical books made me thankful not to have lived through the nineteenth century. But the things that really made the Turk Museum stand out for me were the wood carvings, ranging from a few inches to several feet tall, from more countries than I can recall. Dr. Turk showed me around his house for hours, and we didn't even see half of his stuff. I could write a book just about his collection, let alone his stories.

"To a lot of people, this is all just stuff," he told me at one point, "but to me, these things are memories." I couldn't agree more. Dr. Turk's mind is sharp as a tack, and he recited details about everything he showed me, including where and when he bought them, and what their religious, spiritual, or traditional significance was. Unfortunately I couldn’t remember everything, but I captured some details in my photo comments.

I just was able to catch Dr. Turk at home between two of his international trips, so the timing was perfect. He has led such an interesting life, I was kicking myself for not visiting him sooner.

Photos of the Turk Museum and Air Force Museum.