Friday, December 28, 2007

Puff, Puff, I Give!

It's been one year to the date since I quit smoking! I'm somewhat amazed and happy to report that I haven't had one cigarette since and I firmly believe that it will stay that way. Here's to a New Year's resolution that actually stuck! : )

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Holidays from Portland, Oregon!!


While digging for a photo to post, I ran across this killer website, rootsweb.com, that has tons of well organized historical information about Portland and Multnomah County. The pictures section has photos of old buildings, schools, bridges, etc., plus old postcards!

Apparently there's one for every state and county! Here's Fulton County, Georgia.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Congdon Connection



My friend Chris Congdon of the infamous Red Rubber Band.

Monday, December 17, 2007

They're heeeeere....!

After two months of waiting, anticipating, my Radiohead In Rainbows box sets arrived on my doorstep. Hooray! I delicately unpackaged them and inspected them for damage, none! These were shipped from the UK to the US via their respective postal servies, so I was a bit worried, whew! So why two? I decided to make an investment in a second box set, seeing that they only planned to produce as many copies as were ordered, then cease production, making them instantly out-of-print. Hopefully ten years from now it'll sell for enough to pay for them both, and maybe a plane ticket to somewhere warm, yarr!


The outer sleeve that holds the gatefold 2xLP 2xCD


A view of the spine, nothing too wild here...


The gatefold section removed from the sleeve


Gatefold open with artwork book on left, attached lyrics booklet on right


Oooooh... trippy! Six or seven of these...


The pièce de résistance...45 RPM again like Hail to the Theif

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Congratulations!!!

My bro earned his MBA after four and a half years!!! Yayyyyy!!!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Antarctica Time Lapse

Stunningly gorgeous footage!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Thanks to my Uncle Jeff for emailing me this half-hour look at what we Portlanders either toot our horn about, or keep as a coveted secret. This city kicks ass!

SE Oregon Movies

Stopping for pics & video on the way to Alvord Hot Springs


Alvord Hot Springs


Alvord Desert Overlook


Driving on la playa


Drive by!


Owyhee Reservoir at end of Leslie Gulch

Monday, October 29, 2007

E voila!

It was time. After several months of getting increasingly frustrated with my long locks, I decided that they were long enough and made an appointment at Rudy's on Division to get them lopped off. My stylist, Ryann for those of you in need of an inexpensive, awesome haircut, was very knowledgeable and skilled, and made me feel at ease with the radical change about to befall my crown. They took care of the Locks of Love paperwork and are sending the 12" ponytail on my behalf. It feels so good to have been able to make a contribution to a child in need, and also to have that heavy-ass ponytail gone!

Before





During





After!




Friday, October 12, 2007

Southeast Oregon Round Up

Michael and I returned today around 2pm from our 1200-mile journey through a part of Oregon that had long been the last frontier in my Northwest travels. I have known of this area since nearly day one in Oregon. I purchased the DeLorme Oregon Atlas and Gazetteer soon after moving here, and studied its pages with the fervor of any dedicated scholar. Of particular note was the "Unique Natural Features" section, listing, well, the largest, deepest, weirdest, and otherwise amazing geological features of the state. I would often flip to the pages that covered southeastern Oregon, an area on such a scale that they had to change the scale to accommodate its massive structures and vast, empty spaces.

Tuesday was mostly getting out to Burns, Oregon where we had our base camp (a motel with DSL so we could both work). Gotta love the portable job! On the way down we passed through the Crooked River Outstanding Natural Area (for the purposes of this discourse, ONA). Driving south from Prineville, we found ourselves in a narrow canyon hemmed with vertical walls of basalt several hundred feet tall. As the name suggests it was a crooked river, and it carved out a magnificent landscape.

The next stop was Glass Butte, visited for thousands of years by native tribes to collect obsidian, which was littered all over the ground from a volcanic explosion. The arrowheads made from the stone were traded for hundreds of miles in all directions. The rumors were true, and a few miles in on a primitive dirt road we found an incredible amount of it scattered about. I selected three or four handfuls of interesting specimens to bring home.

Wednesday morning brought biting cold and angry skies. It rained on and off throughout the morning, carried by brisk 30mph gusts. Determined to get the most out of our trip, we forged on with the hope the forecasters were right and the weather would clear by afternoon. We first visited Peter French's round barn. The only one of three still standing, it was used to break horses indoors during the inhospitable winters that settled in the area. The circular structure allowed a continuous path for the horses to run in, and the trees used to build its radiating rafters were cut over 150 miles away in the Blue Mountains near La Grande.

Our next step was Diamond Craters ONA. This area contained to separate crater complexes, from volcanic events spanning over tens of thousands of years. Of key interest was Malheur Maar. A Maar is a crater leftover from a volcanic explosion where no magma rose to the surface. Only steam and hot gas were involved in the explosion. The steam came from a spring in the area, and the spring continued to well up and came to fill the crater to form a small pond. What is significant about this Maar is that plants in the surrounding desert could get a foothold here with a constant water source, and did so for thousands of years, leaving organic debris and pollen in the sediments, which piled atop one another year after year. Climate scientists are able to take core samples and observe what kinds of plants were present in each layer. This gives a snapshot of what the surrounding desert ecosystem was comprised of, and consequently this Maar is the most significant desert lake in all of North America when it comes to studying the history of the inter-mountain desert eco-system.

From there it was off to Steens Mountain. We had plans to drive to the 9700ft summit, which is accessed from the west on a 40 mile long, gently sloping dirt road. Upon reaching the summit, there is nothing gently sloping about it, a 5,000 foot drop in 2 miles to the floor of the Alvord Desert below. This road is the highest road in Oregon, and possibly the highest east of the Rockies, and the vista at the top is immense. Unfortunately the road was closed by the BLM a week before due to early snow. It's usually open until the end of October. Oh well, a reason to go back! :) The Alvord desert is the remnants of a desert lake that extended south into Nevada, but has since dried up. What remains is a perfectly flat, 5x15 mile lake bed that can be driven on in a car or in a three-wheeled glider-mobile, king of like windsurf connected to a kayak on wheels. People also bring gliders to catch the thermals coming off the desert in the summertime.

Twenty miles into our drive below the towering ridgeline the weather began to ease, going from tumultuous wind and rain to dynamic clouds punctuated by clear blue sky. And not a moment to soon, as we pulled up to Alvord Hot Springs. Situated at the edge of the playa, the primitive structure featured a wooden frame with corrugated aluminum shielding you on (only) two sides, from the wind whipping off the mountain. Two tubs, a narrow dressing room, and an exterior bench was all there was. I donned my bathing suit and quickly got in the water, which was warm, but not as warm as I would of liked. It was enjoyable nonetheless. I mean how often can you take a dip in hot springs next to a desert in one of the most desolate parts of the country?

After quickly drying off (brrr!), we headed into the hills above the springs to eat lunch. After gaining 1500-2000 feet, we parked and took some photos, making sure not to get blown off the mountain in the process (It was REALLY windy up there!). At the southern end of the mountain we stopped in Fields, Oregon, population 69, to get gas for our return trip.

With the summit drive closed, we altered our planes, and headed east to visit the Pillars of Rome formation and on to Leslie Gulch. The Pillars of Rome are grey cliffs rising out of the sagebrush that have been eroded such that they appear like columns. To get there we turned off of Highway 97, also named the ION Highway (Idaho-Oregon-Nevada), onto the Old ION Highway, which consisted of nothing more than two tire tracks that appeared to lead nowhere over the grey sands of the surrounding desert. This is where I have to give thanks to my Dad for sending Michael out with his new GPS unit. On more than one occasion it showed the way there and back on unmarked, unnamed dirt and gravel roads without error. On the Old ION, we came across and old dump with its retinue of rusty tin cans, beer bottles, assorted bullet-hole ridden appliances from decades past, and, evidently, the drop off spot for any deer or antelope struck on the highway. It was a veritable graveyard with dozens of bleached bone skeletons of unlucky beasts. The Pillars were indeed impressive, and we made our way on to Leslie Gulch in the extreme east of the state.

Leslie Gulch, named after a gentleman who was struck by lightning there, is the result of multiple volcanic explosions depositing over a thousand feet of consolidated ash that has weather away over the past 15.5 million years. The result is a narrow canyon, 20-300 feet wide, with towering column of pinkish red ash streaked brown and riddled with holes. The photos do not do justice, as many shots are taken with the camera pointed almost straight up to encompass the entirety of these massive formations, causing foreshortening in the perspective and denying them their full glory when viewed this way. The 10-mile road ends at the Owyhee reservoir, which at the moment was not present, only the river itself in a narrow band at the center remained this late in the year. We drove out onto the reservoir bottom and found a nice spot to eat lunch, with nothing by dead silence punctuated by the call of a raptor gliding along the cliff walls.

Instead of returning from whence we came, we made a circuit of our trip, taking in the Succor Creek State Park, a lush chasm-like area with a decent sized creek sandwiched between 100 foot vertical basalt walls. At times, there was only enough room for the road bed, shoulder and creek, with rock walls looming over either side. It was a welcome change to see trees in fall color, and hear rushing water after spending so much time in the desert. A short steep climb into what I thought was an adit and brief brush with the Idaho border and Snake River rounded out our journey as we made our way back to Burns.

It's a shame it took five years to get out there. It is truly a magnificent part of the state, so raw, virtually unpopulated, save for the smallest of towns, if that's what you call them (more like a general store and a few homes). I will definitely be returning for more, and for a longer stay. I recommend it to anyone as a break from the routine of modern life, for it is unlike any other place I've been.

Southeastern Oregon Trip








Thursday, October 11, 2007

Monday, October 1, 2007

Amen!

A single, six-second, break in a 1969 The Winston's song, "Amen, Brother!" defines genres and sub-genres for decades to come! Unreal...

Monday, September 17, 2007

Condolences!

Okkervil River sings "Unless It's Kicks" from their new album The Stage Names at Berbati's during MusicfestNW. More MFNW videos on my YouTube page.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Poor Man's Boat

Last year sometime I purchased a 12v electric trolling motor from Goodwill with the idea of using it with our raft. Well, I finally went out and bought the battery for it, and Maree and I went for a test run on the Wilamette yesterday. I had to make an improvised rig to attach the motor to the raft since it was missing the original piece that connected it to the raft (two bungee cords and a wooden plunger handle!). I can't complain though, it was only $14.99 at Goodwill compared to $70 new! We jumped in the car, drove down to the Milwaukie boat launch and puttered over to Elk Rock Island, across the channel to the cliffs on the west bank, and back for a total distance of about 1.5 miles. The motor worked perfectly, on it's "fast" setting we were making maybe two knots, on the slow setting, one. Not a screamer by any stretch, but practically silent and emissions-free, it was perfect for a lazy day on the river. There was a little juice left when we made it back to the ramp, so we tooled around for a few more minutes to see how much longer the battery would last. I'm already planning on picking up another battery on eBay so we can double our range. With two batteries, we should be able to put in at the dragon boat ramp near OMSI and go for a five-bridge tour of downtown. What fun!



Saturday, September 8, 2007

MFNW is on!!

A $40 wristband gets you no-cover access to 15 or so venues around town for this four-day festival of live music. So far we've see Immaculate Machine, Grand Ole Party, Jonathan Rice, and Rilo Kiley. Tonight it's Damien Jurado, Jason Lytle of Grandaddy, and Okkervil River, and tomorrow...Wolf Parade! I took the Fuji to The Doug Fir where Immaculate Machine from Victoria, B.C. was playing. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

"By the Axe of Thor!!!"

My friend Andy Combs played out at The Waypost Friday night. He's got a very whimsical, fantastical bent to his music, weaving stories of warlocks, mad scientists, bee hives, and tarantula-men, with a one-man-band flair. Andy Combs & the Moth on vocals, guitar, kazoo, beatbox, harmonica.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Without further ado...

Hawai'i 2007

Be sure to have a look at Maree's Web Album too!

A note on Picasa Web Albums

When you click on a photo to see it on its own page, take note of the magnifying glass icon to the upper right of the photo and next to the profile pic for my account. This will enable you to zoom farther in and drag the image around for a better look.

MAX'n and Chillaxin'

Tri-Met boasts the deepest transit station in the country, some 243 feet below ground. Along each platform, there is a core sample taken from the site prior to construction on display. As you travel along the sample from the deepest to shallowest depth, there is a historical and geological timeline that summarizes the major events that occured when each rock layer was formed.

Washington Park MAX Station

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Silver Falls State Park

Maree and I met up with Emily and Jim for a nice five mile hike through Silver Falls State Park, about an hour and half south of Portland. The park boasts ten waterfalls, five of them over 100ft tall, and gobs of lush scenery. We parked one car at the southern trailhead, and the other at the northern end, and had an easy hike that was mostly gently sloping downhill along the creek. The water flow was lower than what I'm accustomed to, but the falls were still spectacular. I'm trying something new this time, using a Picasa Web Album to show the pics instead of posting them all on the blog. Just click on the pic below and then press the Slideshow button above the first pic. Let me know if you like this way better.

Silver Falls State Park 8-22-07


A short clip of Lower South Falls, blasted video compression!


Sunday, August 12, 2007

"Oh, it's such a perfect day, I'm glad I spent it with you..."


Maree and I took part in the Providence Bridge Pedal, a yearly event where bicyclists have the opportunty to ride over all ten bridges that span the Wilamette River in Portland. Maree and I got up early and headed downtown to meet up with friends who were riding. Maree and I did eight of the ten beidges: Morrison, Sellwood, Hawthorne, Ross Island, Marquam, Burnside, Steel, and Fremont. Aside from an insane bottleneck getting onto Ross Island, it was smooth sailing for most of the ride, with most people taking an easy going pace. What was especially cool was that the top decks of the Marquam (I-5) and Fremont (I-405) bridges were closed for the event, providing peds and cyclists a once a year chance to set foot on these otherwise off-limits spans. At the top of each were mini-festivals with live music, free water and snacks, free samples from sponsors, as well as free bike repair from local bike shops. The Marquam featured a jazz band playing ragtime, and the Fremont had a group of bagpipe players. We cut our ride short, deciding against riding another 12 miles to cross the St. Johns bridge, and made our way back to the waterfront park for eats at the Bite of Oregon. Our ride was about 24 miles long, and in total we probably did closer to 30 with commuting to and from the event added in. It was really the perfect day for a ride, cloudy, in the 60s, no wind. Not to mention a bitchin' sunrise and sunset. Bless.













Saturday, August 11, 2007

Friday, August 10, 2007

Big Loop


I went for an evening ride today with my camera. I took Burnside east to the I-205 bike path, and took the path until I got to the Columbia River. There is a bike path that runs along the river that is a real blast to ride. I turned to the west, with the sun sinking in the sky before me, and the river glistening to the right. I had a pretty strong headwind, which made for a more strenous, buy satisfying ride. The airport is right next to the river, so I had opportunities to get some pictures of planes coming in. There was also a good deal of boat traffic on the river, and many people had already set up camp on one of the islands in the middle of the river. I also noticed that there are some huge houses on the Washington side of the river. Who needs that much house??? I had the pleasure of what I think was a hawk slowly making its way up the river, pausing and hovering while looking for fish. Eventually it got to where I was situated, and managed to get a clear shot. If you look real close, you can see that it's looking right at me. I took some random car and truck shots as they passed on Marine Drive and captured something truly random. An 18-wheeler pulled up to watch the planes come in, and I took a picture of it as it approached. Nothing special about that, except that when I got home I noticed that the driver was traveling with a life-size cardboard cut-out of Homer Simpson!!! WTF! He also happened to be the first trucker I've ever seen with dreads...strange.

I stopped off at New Seasons on 33rd and Killingsworth to grab a beverage and stopped to get some BBQ at Cannon's. MMMMmmmmm BBQ pork sandwich.

Overall I'm quite pleased with my purchase. This camera easily outperforms my Olympus in terms of responsiveness and image quality. I've got a couple movies that I'll post up soon, takeoffs and landings, what-have-you...