Monday, December 31, 2007


Yesterday I picked up another Charlie Parker CD at the library. I find Monk's style to be more technically unique, but Parker definitely has the soul and is always front and center. This album, a live recording from September 26, 1952, has a unique story to it (see link).

So tonight is New Years Eve, and I was going to just stay in, but a friend called and persuaded me to not be a total loser on this night and to go out. So I guess I will. First, a few people may come over to watch a movie before we head out.

As I sit here, I think about the four pictures I took twenty years ago on this day presently hanging above my head in my living room. My friend Montana Bob and I drove across the US in record time (roughly 52 hours from Scranton, Pennsylvania to L.A. - non-stop). And we didn't even speed that much, we just never stopped driving (excpet to stop for gas and an occasional six-pack or two back in the day. Now we have cell phone users which are the equivalents of alcohol-impaired drivers, except they're not only out at 2am on Saturday nights but at all hours of the day and night, but I digress...) .

Well the pictures I took are from the end of the journey driving up Highway One on a day that started in Tijuana and ended that ended forty hours later in the parking lot of a New Years Eve Grateful Dead concert at the Oakland Coliseum with no sleep. I call the series of four pictures "Fear and Loathing on the PCH." But the pictures did come out wonderfully and have been with me for the past two decades.

Wow, how Time Fades Away.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Wind II

In all the excitement of yesterday, I forgot that I was sick. So today was a day of doing little and the being aware of the sore muscles used for sailing that are not commonly used in my daily life. Although my sailing in the San Juans has been very limited, crossing to Orcas yesterday opened a whole new door for me and reawakened my love of sailing. (For now, at least.) Passing between these wondrous islands through narrow passes teeming with birds. The solitude was also great, but I doubt this same sensation exists in the summer when the weather is more favorable and the boaters are out en masse.

And I came to the realization yesterday that (no matter how hard I try) I will be damp and chilly in Bellingham for most of the winter. Even in the warmest places, there still seems to be the permeating moist bay air. And I found that salt retains moisture, so that is probably a contributing factors. But I've come to realize and accept these chilly winters as fact, and it's quite alright.


Today we made the roughly twenty-five mile passage to Orcas Island. Winds sustained twenty-five gusting to forty or so. We had generally favorable winds throughout the trip, and flew the full main with the 110 headsail, sometimes thinking we had too much sail, but most of the time just right.

If you look hard at the picture you can see some blue, so today could qualify for being party sunny. And that was the extent of it. Coming home sore and wind burned from the funky winds of the Puget Sound was all worth it though. Dinner on the island, and then returning to Bellingham via ferry, which always makes me feel like a little kid.

I will write more later, as it is very late and I am beat, and today was indeed a top notch day:
One of the highlight days of life in Bellingham. And it only took seven layers. (But I was still chilly. Who cares?)

Friday, December 28, 2007

Blech III

Another day of shaking a sickness. But when you work for yourself, you don't really get sick days. (But I never really took sick days anyway.) So I came home tonight brought the TV out from the garage and napped. Mad Max happened to be on television. And on the television ads, Boxing Day turns into Boxing Week - basically days of commercial inundation and sales.

Tomorrow we are going to attempt the Orcas Island sail, so the day is planned that will be spent in the rain at forty degrees; many layers and foulies are the anticipated clothing regimen.

Other than that, not a whole lot happening. Hair cut today. My bottom bracket stopped its aching (for now), but I am waiting on a tool from the local bike shop that I ordered so I can remove it. Yeah, not much exciting happening. Time to get some more sleep.

Oh, and that picture is Lake Crescent over on the peninsula. What a beautiful place and I look forward to getting back there in the spring or summer.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Blech II

Here is a picture of the road in front of me that I take on my way to work some mornings, some evenings, and pretty much every day or evening in the summer. Actually it's a boardwalk over the bay.

Tonight was over to a company party, which was quite wonderful - the people, the food, the vibes. Unfortunately, I feel like crap and am fending off a cold. I will be fine, as long as I get rest and drink. And tomorrow should be a bit more relaxing. So I am not up for writing too much.

And although I never discuss world events here, it is shocking to hear of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. It is sad how much anger and hatred there is in this world. And unfortunately with more and more of us vying for less and less, I cannot envision things getting much better. Life is fragile. And I am lucky for having had a good day. {sniffle}

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


This picture was taken driving up to Mount Baker back in September. I cannot wait to get back up there once the weather breaks. I hear they are having a killer winter, but I got a bit spoiled living less than five minutes from the Stagecoach lift at Heavenly, so driving an hour or two to Mt. Baker - well I guess I don't enjoy skiing that much. I definitely look forward to hiking and camping this year though, and riding my motorbike up Rt. 542. .

I don't have a whole lot of time to write more, as an hour's worth of work was lost on Excel and need to get something done. What a shoddy product Microsoft repeatedly puts out. The next computer will be an Apple even if I need to sell plasma to afford it. Fourteen-plus years of crappy products is enough.

And I am fending off a sickness. So tomorrow I sleep in and hopefully not be grumpy tomorrow when I write. Snow tomorrow and currently one degree Celsius. At least the solstice was last week so we have crossed that path into the sun setting a tad bit later.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


A Christmas Day in Bellingham spent sailing to Orcas Island aboard a late 60's vintage 32-foot Cal or Ericson (with the old-style winches). The harbor was calm the bay was a sustained 25 knots. When we passed into Rosario Strait, the wind picked up to forty-plus knots off the port bow with breaking waves.

So we decided to raise the reefed main, and realized it may not be such a good idea. I once asked an old friend when you should reef the main sail, and told me "when the thought first crosses your mind." Well the thought had since passed and we were too late. Our efforts proved futile: when raising the main we couldn't get the reef point set. After years of sailing (and times like these) I wonder what enjoyment I find in this leisure activity: Clinging onto the mast with one arm while pulling the halyard with the other, feet hanging as Somnium rolls through the five foot waves and you lick your wet upper lip to see if it is the fresh (and increasingly steady) rain, or the salt sea (which it is).

So we aborted the mission and head back to port. We will try again Saturday or Sunday.

Evening was to a friend's place and it looked like the weather was breaking. But it wasn't. Coming home was wind, heavy rain and cold, and - forgetting my rain gear - getting wet. But home to a warm fireplace with drying clothes strewn about (including foul weather gear) and Thelonius Monk; it makes for the end of a good day.

Happy Boxing Day northern neighbors.

Monday, December 24, 2007


Today was a day back on bikes and freedom. So my cruiser (the one in the background) is in dire need of bottom bracket attention, so I rode the classic Schwinn (foreground) to the bike store for a special wrench (and he let me borrow another, um, thing to remove the piece). Then to Hardware Sales, a Bellingham Institution, for an 8mm allen wrench. The poor bike groans and wheezes with every pedal stroke.

And being it was a beautiful day (forties and sun) I took the motorbike of for a jaunt about and around Bellingham, visit, and top off the gas tank. Wunderbar! Once I get comfortable with its workings and temperments, I look forward to four-day trips in the summertime. I haven't been out on it since Thanksgiving, so it was fun.

Then to see I'm Not There. Very creatively done and a real surprise. One would assume it was about Dylan, although the name was never mentioned (each stage of his life was portrayed by both a different actor...or actress with different names). It is mostly Dylan tunes and labeled as a biopic. After seeing this picture, the overwhelming desire to smoke a cigarette overtook me. See the movie and you'll understand.

So I rode out on my ailing bike out along the bay (a beautiful night at 40 degree and moonlight) past Eldridge and out Marine Drive on the way to the Lummi Nation (but not nearly that far). I stopped at a convenience store to by a pack of unfiltered Camels, smoked one, got a cool nicotine headrush and rode home. I forgot I don't really smoke, so the Camels went in a drawer until god-knows-when.

Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


It is good to be back in Drearyham. The snow was beautiful, and it was a very fun time in spite of its shortness, it seemed much longer than the thirty or so hours we were gone. Leavenworth is a cute little town, and although it is being overrun by tourists (including us) still retains charm. However, I would rather visit on a very quiet time, versus the high season. Throngs of Seattle-ites cast this amped-up energy upon the village of everyone in a hurry to go nowhere fast. And I won't even get into the huge home-equity extractions they drive. I realize in the time that I've lived in Bellingham, I've gladly adjusted to a more mellow lifestyle. Thank god. (Don't get me wrong, Bellingham a acquiring these uppity types, but they get sucked into the suburbs and never venture further beyond their subdivision than the neighborhood strip mall.)

Fortunately, we stayed at a B&B a few miles away from the maddening crowds, and had gracious hosts, as well as some cool other guests. It is sort of odd sitting around a table with total strangers having just woken up. But the most relaxing part was staying at this inn right on the Wenatchee River. It was a newer house, but other than that (I prefer older) was a place at which I could've stayed for quite a few days to unwind.

And I got a CD at the library last week: The Weepies. I liked the cover art as I was walking by (so I picked it up with a Charlie Parker disc), and they turned out to be a great folksy-type band and I've found myself taking a liking to.

I cannot wait to get back on my bike tomorrow.

Friday, December 21, 2007


Looking southeast out the front window. You can see a slight spot of sunlight, which is always less cloudy due to the sound and the islands and a bunch of other topographical and climate factors. And it is the glimmer of hope that Bellingham will receive this sun, which is about six months away.

I am beat and it is a night to cut it short. I am very tired and a friend came in from BC, and I am dead tired after a long week of stuff. I will not write tomorrow, as I am going to Leavenworth and will be leaving my computer home and my cell phone turned off. Looking forward to that.

See you Sunday.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


I volunteer with a local group that works towards economically sustainable growth - both locally and nationally. One goal is to establish a Peak Oil Task Force within the city, similar to what was done in 2006 in Portland.

So we held a meeting at my place followed by a social pot luck. And it was a fun, fun time. Everyone made dishes and brought the most wonderful food. All were vegetarian, some vegan. All made from scratch. Yummy. And all around a good time and the most people I've ever had in my home. I hope to do that again. Now I am sitting here awestruck by listening to a Charlie Parker disk and having repeatedly listened to it again and again. I do not think a word exists to describe him. He plays sax like Faulkner writes. Well maybe not. Faulkner plods along mercilessly and relentlessly while Parker flits around like a warbler high in an elm tree on an August afternoon.

But the picture above is all the garbage that we created tonight at the gathering. Tons of food were brought in real dishes, and the rest of the remains were composted or recycled. And I even brought out the guest silverware; I do not think that I own two matching forks.

Hours later the room still reverberates with cool vibes. And music.

And hopefully tomorrow I will write about Sherman, the little mouse friend that I recently named and is becoming a bit more ballsy.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


This picture is looking towards West Philly up Market Street in front of 30th Street Station. I took it last month when I was visiting back east. This used to be my stomping grounds back in the early eighties. Now it is memories.

Today I am tired and the amount I spent yesterday typing wore me today. And tomorrow I am having guests over, so I need to cook and do some cleaning and turn some heat on. The on Friday another party and Saturday off to Leavenworth, a pretty town in the Cascades, versus the federal pen that I think of when I think if Leavenworth - back in Kansas.

So a day of great productivity could partially be due to one of those far out dead shows from 1973. And a killer set list, at that:
Big Railroad Blues, Jack Straw, Sugaree, Mexicali Blues, Here Comes Sunshine, Black Throated Wind, Cumberland Blues, Row Jimmy, The Race is On, Brown Eyed Women, Beat It On Down The Line, Tennessee Jed, El Paso, China Cat Sunflower-> I Know You Rider, Around & Around Truckin'-> The Other One-> Big River-> The Other One-> Eyes Of The World-> The Other One-> Wharf Rat, Me & My Uncle, Goin' Down The Road Feelin' Bad-> One More Saturday Night

Time to sleep. Tomorrow maybe the creative juices will be flowing. I need to make vegan jambalaya. I need to recall how to get the slime off the okra. I stayed in Thibodaux, Louisiana after Katrina in 2005 and a woman told me how to do it using tomatoes. I think I remember how to do it...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


The neighbor across the street goes crazy on the Christmas decorations and it is so nice to see them upon arriving home at night. But they are wonderful people and I wish I knew them better. I've heard of a bygone era when neighbors used to stop by and visit one another with regularity. I hope to do that again once the seasons change, as I am surrounded by some nice people.

Today I made my semi-annual pilgrimage to K-mart, an institution for which I will always possess a deep fondness. I began my illustrious business career at this fine bastion of capitalism whose business model has unfortunately wilted in the wake of those that are sleeker and leaner and meaner. But at least the smell of a K-mart hasn't changed in twenty-five years.

I bought two things to get me through the winter: Vitamin D and thermal shirts. The former a friend suggested I get, as most people in the PacNW are deficient in this; the latter was of my own doing, as I found a layer of a thermal shirt makes a world of difference. Wow, maybe what I construed as hipness actually serves a true purpose: T-shirt over these thermal shirts.

And the electric bill came in at $56 this month, so it is time to turn the heat down a bit more. I've grown to realize that I am always going to be cold in Bellingham in the damp winter, except for two places: a client's in Fairhaven where the first think I do upon arriving is open the window, and the coffee shop that has the fireplace (where I just came from). Today it was a rainy day, and I met some other 'hamster cyclers sitting in front of the fire drying out drinking coffee.

And I realize I am typing so much because I put the telly back in the garage as watching it was boring me, and there were no good eight o'clock movies on the rest of this month.

Oops. Low battery, Neil Young CD needs to be changed ( I hadn't listened to this one for years, literally). Tea is on. Gotta run.

Monday, December 17, 2007


Today I finished my Christmas cards. So if you don't get one within the week, it's either lost in the mail or I ran out of steam. And I am finally sending back the books I borrowed from people last month, and another one from eighteen months ago. Oops.

Much is planned for the next few weeks, and it is nice living in a town where lots of people are on the move and coming from and going to Alaska, Mexico, Asia, East Coast, there are plenty of holiday parties going on. Possibly more than I've attended in years. Grand. And this weekend it is off to a little town in the Cascades with a friend from BC. Très Bien!

But tonight, I am just enjoying a nice night in front of the gas fireplace after a day of some progress on the work and personal front and realizing while I was sitting at a quasi-business meeting this evening that if you're going to wear the same shirt for four days straight, be very mindful of food stains, especially if the shirt is navy blue chamois. But it is sooo comfortable.

And I cannot get over how excellent a musician Charlie Parker is.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


So I wrote and when I clicked the Publish Post button, my whole system locked up. So this is a second effort, although this already sucked up thirty minutes of my time tonight and all I really want to do is get to bed as today was a day of conversation and relaxation and general slack.

So tomorrow begins another week of being a productive citizen to my community and feeding Mother Capitalism through my diligent and valiant efforts. And I did see the mouse around the kitchen again, but there is room enough for all of us. As long as the mouse (or mice) don't trash the place. So far we seem to be respecting each other's space.

Oh, and that sunset is from a long, long time ago.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


More of the same. Dreary weather. Rain, but later dry but still cloudy. It never seems to be overcast here, yet always cloudy. And beautiful, with many times the hills being lost by the low clouds.

We didn't fly to the islands today because it was windy and the cloud ceiling was about fifteen feet. So we got together at my place for some coffee and breakfast and we caught up, as I hadn't seen him in almost a year. It was good to spend hours in conversation with one of the many interesting and dynamic people I know here in Bellingham.

With daylight lasting about ninety minutes on a Bellingham winter day, it was getting dark when I decided to run errands, which was not much more than going to get a Charlie Parker CD at the library and a book on the salmon industry, and going for a bike ride to mitigate any cabin fever symptoms. Then to a coffee shop to sit in front of a fireplace, get warm and read.

In the picture, if you look down this road, I live at the end on the left. This picture, I too tried to lighten with a photo editor, but to no avail. I personally find the York, Sunnyland (where I hang my hat), and Lettered Streets neighborhoods to be the funkiest in town. This picture is looking down towards the southern part of Sunnyland towards town. At this time of year, what a silly name Sunnyland is!

Friday, December 14, 2007


Yes, today I took a little breather, but tomorrow it starts up again. But not really. I think I will relax. And a sailing friend asked if I wanted to fly to his home to one of the nearby islands in his little aeroplane.

If so, there is a good chance that you will see some neat pictures of Bellingham, if the cloud ceiling is high enough. This picture to the right was taken a few days back looking down the street towards my home. No matter how I tried, I found it difficult to make it any less dark. And it was taken around noon.

More times than not, I see someone I know on the way through town. Today I saw a friend at the store and he stopped by for a bit this evening for tea and conversation. Then I turned the television on, and watched the evening sitcom routine on the only channel: Reno 911, Steinfeld, and Scrubs. I did answer some e-mails too and wrote what you're now reading.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


I finally found a use for the television. It can be used to dry my wet biking gear.

A few friends and I had a discussion last night about the two types of people that move to Bellingham. I decided to erase the mini-rant I went of on regarding the one type, but it included such words as Seattle, BC, California, snout houses, subdivisions, many more cloudy days, cable television, nails in a mental coffin, etc.

But here was the good type of Bellinghamsters: Then there are the people that get drawn to Bellingham and nurture the cool vibe that flows throughout this town, regardless of age. I've never felt it anywhere I've ever lived. (But then again I've never lived anywhere in my life with cycling being my sole means of transportation.)

It was a day of biking in the steady rain (not drizzle, make note), but it was incredibly refreshing. And I do not know why, but no one wears Bean Boots in this town. I guess they are an east coast phenomenon, and only one other person that I know (from NJ) is familiar with them. But they are a perfect match for this town. Maybe I will run through the streets telling people.

After another salmon steak for dinner tonight, I hoped that I never tire of eating it. Oh and here is a really cool video.

I can take a breather tonight...all these projects got finished up, cripes, until tomorrow at nine a.m. But this will be a weekend to bum around. Go out a night or two. See a movie. Read. Oh, and remaining Christmas cards.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


This mighty ribbon of progress separates Bellingham like the cut of a scalpel. And this picture is from the bike overpass less than a mile from my home looking south towards Seattle, Portland and San Diego. To the north about 25km is Canada. And about two hundred miles south is where the flooding occurred last week.

So I decided to not shower or shave or change clothes until someone commented on my appearance. No one has so far, and I am feeling rather grungy. I might concede.

Another dreary, yet beautiful day. I was recently told the weather in Bellingham is crummier than the weather even in Seattle. I would hate to be stuck in a house all winter. That would drive me batty. Fortunately, there are a ton of things to do here in Bellingham, and the city is my living room. Wednesdays I volunteer at the food bank, which has turned out to be a lot of fun every week. I needed to laugh, as today I filed my divorce papers.

Let me emote...

"Here beside him stands a man
a soldier by the looks of him
who came through many fights
but lost at love"
- Robert Hunter

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


This is another picture - not of Bellingham, but of the Atchafalaya Basin in the deep south of Louisiana, a state I dearly love. I canoed here back on a soul search back in 2001 and camped on an island. This was a wonderful sunset among the baldcypresses. I would love to spend exactly one year in this part of Louisiana. Or maybe east a bit more near Thibodaux. Or maybe a week.

Today was quite busy from a work standpoint, and it will go on for a bit past midnight. And I went to a coffee shop on the water (the third one today not including the bakery for a midday cookie) to proof a business plan and was more relaxed then I've been in a long, long time in spite of all the caffeine...very quiet with decent music (I even found some of the Christmas music palatable). But tomorrow is another day.

But leaving the coffee shop, it was a steady rain that returned welcomed, like the kisses of your dog on your face. Sun is nice, but the clouds and rain I find more comforting. Fortunately I took my rain gear, as I was debating whether or not to leave it at home. That would've made for a wet ride home, although fleece too repels water (to a degree).

Monday, December 10, 2007

Stella Blue

This is my old sailboat that I spent many (or pretty much all) summer weekends from 1998 through 2004 plying the coasts (and quite a bit of open water also) of magnificent Lake Erie and the islands, especially Kelley's Island. But that old Catalina 25 is history and many more sailing opportunities await this summer. I really don't need a boat, just a friend with one.

And I'd like to build up my sailing skills and possibly some offshore cruising. My dream is to cross the Pacific within five years. On someone else's boat, of course. For the price of the upkeep on this 25-foot boat, I could've chartered a three-year old Beneteau 311 for three and maybe four weeks. But I did love Stella Blue and became a seasoned sailor on her sailing the sometimes placid, sometimes tempestuous, waters of this shallow, yet great lake.

So today, after a highly productive day, I went out to see the band I sat in with last week. Good thing that I did not take my gutbucket, as the leader of the band felt it wouldn't be prudent if I sat in with them (bar owner would not've been happy.). No biggie on my end. So I listened for a bit, had a drink, came back home, and lamented the fact that I need to be at a nine o'clock meeting tomorrow morning. Guess things aren't so bad.

Makes me think of a country music lyric:
"I've got a few good friends and my bills are paid
I got the moon and stars above and I've got it made"
-John Anderson

Off to Leavenworth in a few weeks, and maybe San Fran in January. Woo hoo!

Sunday, December 9, 2007


Here is a picture taken when I was out on the fishing boat. It's the light on the Dungeness Spit over on the peninsula about two months ago.

A day of work and over to watch a funny coming-of-age movie at a friend's place. Can't really remember the name. But fortunately for the internet, I was able to find out what it was. Mindless funny movies are good on cloudy Sunday afternoons. The lethargy of winter has set in.

At least the year's darkest day is less than two weeks off. I probably mentioned it before, but i around now it starts getting dark around 4:00, and the sun comes up at 7:30, so you really don't have long days in the winter. And also the last two days I was able to sleep until ten and eleven. Yikes. Need to get up earlier to reap the short sunlight.

Oh, and here are the stats so far for this blog:
221 Absolute Unique Visitors
1,992 Pageviews
Average Pageviews
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64.59% Bounce Rate
New Visits
100% Useless Information.

Saturday, December 8, 2007


Today I was supposed to do one thing: visit a friend's coffee shop open house. But I didn't make it to that. Oops. And I really wanted to go. But I did bike to La Vie En Rose to get a wonderful cake for a wonderful dinner party I went to in Sudden Valley.

It was sunny but cold today, but the clouds and ten or fifteen degrees of added warmth will return. I never thought I'd be welcoming the clouds and drizzle, but being in the forties is far more comfortable than the thirties. And the forties are more normal temps too for around here.

This picture to the right is the on the gillnetter in early October. Only two months ago yet it seems such a long time back.

I did get ten-plus hours if sleep, so that was good, although tonight I am tired as I slept too much. So I will sign off and get more sleep.

Friday, December 7, 2007


So today I worked and forgot to pack a lunch and didn't really have any time to get a sandwich, but still managed to get totally jacked up on caffeine all day without eating. So when I finally did get some dinner with friends tonight, I became nourished and re-energized. So getting back onto the bike trail, I took a left instead of a right and rode a mile or two up to Lake Whatcom. Then back down the hill and rode all over town. Over to Sunnyland and then Columbia and beyond, then through town down to see a friend that might be out playing at a band in Fairhaven, but it turned out it was at a bar near my house. I stopped in there too, but he wasn't there. So (although the bar was crowded and it looked fun and I knew the band members sort of) I headed home. (The picture above was taken many weeks ago.)

Here are maps of the bike path: 120kb little file or 2.2mb big file. (The long green curvy trail takes you from near the house up to the shore of the lake.)

Speaking of bands and bars, the gutbucket bass went over quite nicely. Good enough to get invited back to sit in on a few songs next Monday at the Boundary Bay! Very, very good musicians, so I felt grateful for being able to play with them. And it was funny riding through the streets of Bellingham with this 17-gallon wash tub strapped to my back. One guy took my picture. This a funny town.

And I would love for nothing more than to sleep until noon tomorrow, but I will probably be up at eight.

Thursday, December 6, 2007


So I am getting ready to (somehow) fasten this big washtub bass to my back to ride my bike over to the Green Frog/Acoustic Tavern. It's only about a mile or so away, and I could really stay inside and go to bed. I've been up since six a.m., and I realize some people get up at this time every day. But I do not. Tomorrow I can sleep in. I think tomorrow is Friday.

Today was an amazing day of sun and no clouds, but again the chill accompanied the clear day as it usually does. I spent the afternoon in the coffee shop in front of the fireplace working on my laptop (thanks to my new battery that gives me this freedom). Then to a networking function, but since I really am not looking for new clients, it is mostly just to see some of the business people that I've met in this town.

Oh, and here is another 1975 BMW R60/6 for sale just down the road. Just like mine. Tempting. Sort of like when you buy a second dog for the first one to play with.

Gotta run. The music beckons.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


Not a very exciting day on the personal level. Didn't shower. Worked. Conference calls. A few errands. Average amounts of coffee. Then off to the food bank to help bag rice into the evening.

Later tonight when I went out to the garage I had another episode: It begins when I catch a whiff of the gas and oil smell of the R60/6 while shining the gas tank, and it ends up with me on my back trying to shine and get at the most intricate little nooks and grooves to get the grease and dirt out. These episodes usually last an hour.

I might take the BMW out this weekend, but it will be cold and yes I am a wuss. We'll see. A fellow former East Coaster told me that BMW motorbikes are called Beemers while the autos are called Bimmers. Good to know, I guess.

But tomorrow is a busy day where I get to wear a bow tie and navy blazer and go out and have fun . Then on to sit in on the washtub bass at the Green Frog. There is a very good chance I may not write tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


Here is a picture of one of many cars I've wrecked in my life. I came across it on this computer. One of the many incidents in my life for which I should not be alive. I wrecked more cars than some people will own, so maybe it's good that I no longer drive. But seeing this picture and what-could-have-been made me happy to be able to live my humble life in a pretty cool town. A day with a bit of gratitude.

But this little white car was the one that me and Montana Bob drove cross country in back in '87 with nary a break. We drove straight through. Straight through a blizzard on I-70 west of Denver in the the Rockies that dumped a few feet on the ground and closed Stapleton. And we had bald summer tires on that little car, and made Scranton, PA to L.A. in around fifty-two hours. I have only met a few people in my life that have made it coast to coast in that time. I can never do it again. Actually, I could and I have (although not entirely coast to coast).

Otherwise, not much going on tonight, just working and wondering how frightening it is that I am referencing the Book of Answers for some of my life's really important decisions.


Sustained twenty-five know winds from the SSE today. I was out riding into a headwind on the way to my destination (being a very roundabout way to the coffee shop to read), and a great tailwind coming home from Fairhaven. This picture taken (in a time long ago...summer) of the bike path I rode tonight and was literally blown the entire length by a tailwind. No pedaling. No kidding. I was so amazed I turned around and rode back the entire length and did it again. The second time the wind blew me even farther along. Almost to the coffee shop.

Then up to Boundary Bay to see an acoustic band. And after they were done, I asked them if they needed a gut bucket bass player to sit in for a few songs at their Thursday gig and they said yes. Cool. I am sure you will heart more of this. I've played before with established bluegrass musicians in Kentucky. (Actually it was Cincinnati, but KY was right across the river.) And they asked me back, so I guess I held my own.

I also met with my fishermen friends and it looks like I am committed to two weeks helping them launch their business in Kaltag, Alaska. This place is literally in the middle of nowhere. No road access at all. Only boat or float plane. I cannot wait.

Sunday, December 2, 2007


Okay, so a little bit of Bellingham history of the houses across the street. The house on the left in this picture was the foreman of the mill in town when these houses were built in the early 1900's. The one the right was the sister of the mill owner. Yesterday's picture shows this same house and the one to the right of this one (in yesterday's picture) is of the the mill owner. They are all basically the same house. The one in the center is three rental units (or maybe two) while the others are single family homes - both owned by wonderful people incidentally, and lifelong residents of Bellingham.

So the wind clocked around from the south today and with it brought warm winds, rain (imagine that), and a fifteen degree increase in temperature. So the snow is gone, but not enough motivated me to leave the house today...until the desire for chocolate arose. Some people walk to the store for a six pack or smokes - I go out for chocolate. So I walked down the street and that was the extent of my adventures for the day. On top of that, they gave me an extra (and fancy) chocolate bar. I felt like Charlie Bucket.

And then there is the ominous work hanging over you like the low clouds. And stripping some of the wood in my front room - the project for the winter, and hopefully my goal of redoing one room per year in this house. Since I am not buying any toys from China this Christmas, I will need to get my lead from another source. So chances are there is some in this paint that I am stripping with the heat gun. It is surprisingly therapeutic and the wood (cedar maybe? or fir?) has a warm glow and smells wonderful.

Where did this weekend go?

Your rain falls like crazy fingers
Peals of fragile thunder keeping time
Recall the days that still are to come
Some sing blue
- R. Hunter

Saturday, December 1, 2007


So first, the New Riders concert was absolutely tremendous. Nothing like seeing an old hippie band in an old hippie town. Definitely recharging. I need to go to the Wild Buffalo a bit more. And the band still has spunk left and the vibes were cool.

And then off to the beautiful climes of our great northern neighbor to visit a friend. Up in the wondrous Port Moody area that begins to climb into the Canadian Coast Range (or whatever they call those jagged mountains that you can see from Bellingham). And unfortunately I brought the weather back with me. Northeast winds and snow from British Columbia and although it's twenty-seven degrees at BLI, it's f*$%&#g cold here. (Sorry about the expletive.) And I've lived in some cold places.

Speaking of cold, here is a camera link from the Bellingham Cold Storage of G Dock, Gate Three at Squalicum Harbor.

So I took the rental car back to and need to rent one again this Thursday to go back to BC. So I figure I have five rental days a month before it costs more than my old, paid-for, '98 vee-dub. And wow, did gas become expensive in the few months that I haven't been driving. Although I could've had the rental for the weekend, I got rid of it this morning, after not really feeling like dealing with the it the rest of the weekend. And besides, it was a Pontiac G6 and I felt like I was driving in a coffin.

Tonight was a gallery walk, but I did laundry instead. And read. And slept. But not really the work I should have. Tomorrow is another day. The snow kept me inside. You would be amazed how a few inches of ice and snow will shut Bellingham down. We don't even have snow plows here. Sold them to Seattle. I am not kidding when I say a five-foot snowstorm in Lake Tahoe was nothing compared to a few inches of icy snow here in B'ham. Funny.

And although I rarely, if ever, let television dictate my life, Taxi Driver was tonight's movie on the only channel I receive, and offered one more reason to stay inside.
Late night arriving in from British Columbia at four a.m. But tremendous fun. More later.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

New Riders

Dave Torbert, David Nelson, Mickey Hart, Jerry Garcia, John Dawson -1970

Tonight I go to see the New Riders of the Purple Sage. I don't know much about them, and I haven't even read the link that I posted above. But they obviously have ties to the Grateful Dead, and Jerry Garcia is in the picture above. So it might be cool to see a band whose song(s) that I saw Peter Rowan cover a few times - one being Panama Red (Old And In The Way also covered this song, a band in which Garcia and Rowan played). Oh wait, from what I see, maybe Rowan wrote it and NRPS made it famous. Whatever.

From the site:
"New Riders of the Purple Sage return to the Wild Buffalo stage for another outrageous show! Led by original members David Nelson and Buddy Cage, the current touring lineup includes Michael Falzarano (Hot Tuna) on guitar and vocals, Ronnie Penque (Stir Fried) on bass and vocals and Johnny Markowski (Stir Fried) on drums and vocals."

So there is a steady north wind tonight. Although thirty-six degrees, it is still clear and chilly. May snow this weekend. Brrr. Sometimes the Nor'easters come down through the Fraser Valley and the temperature will dip into the low teens. Then it is cold. Now it is just chilly. But a moist chilly. And when I am only in the house a bit, I don't turn the heat up (the cheapo that I am), so I am typing this with a cold nose and stiff fingers. But Thelonius Monk is playing; a CD that I picked up at the library yesterday, so how bad can it be? He may be the best musician ever. Next to Jerry. Gotta run. Almost show time.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Maybe picture of a sunset will help. This was earlier in the fall. Certainly not today. Snow possibly tonight.

Today was log day of becoming entangled in the vicissitudes of life, work, marriage crap and weather. I am letting the energy of Bellingham slip away from me, which is the sustenance needed to pull one through the winter. I need to harness that energy again. Yes, I realize that in a few weeks, things should mellow out in my life, but right now it is a push to meet some business deadlines that never seem to end.

And I was working at the food bank tonight and tapped into some of the cool things that exist in Bellingham, such as the Purple Church dances. And tomorrow hopefully the NRPS at the Wild Buffalo.

Yes, I need to get outside of myself. And seeing an old hippie band just might do it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


So the nickname of Bellingham is the city of subdued excitement. And I think it is à propos. A mellow place, especially through the winter drearies, but with an everpresent sense of energy and vibrancy. I was going to rant about something today, but I cannot remember what.

This picture was taken back a few weeks or months ago. On the bike path where I was riding tonight in the very darkness. I might be making a trip to British Columbia this weekend, where usually a
fun time is to be had. Other than that, I am facing a pretty big challenge on the job front. But I don't really like to talk too much about work on here, so that discussion will be saved over a cup of coffee. Mmmm. Coffee. The lifeblood of the Bellingham winter.

A moist thirty-five degrees here is colder than a dry ten degrees back east. And it's amazing how much warmer forty0five feels versus thirty-five. Especially in the rain.

Oh, and New Riders of the Purple Sage are playing here Thursday.

Monday, November 26, 2007


This picture was taken last year at Larrabee State Park. Someone made this neat display of art with stones and seaweed and plants, and it obviously took some time. It was right on the beach near the water.

So today was another uneventful day. Dreary and a downer Monday after having what I think was a brief spell of sickness. I don't get sick very much, so the concept seems a bit foreign. But yes, yesterday I felt quite crummy for a bit (without going into details). And this was unfortunate as I was at a party at a friend's house where there was more food than I've ever seen at one place for twenty or so people.

I wish I had more interesting things to discuss this evening, but my life has become a little mundane in the winter clouds. Getting light at eight in morning, and darkness around four. Blech. Fortunately there is plenty to do to keep me occupied with work and other activities. Yes, sometimes a trip to the garage out back turns into an hours of shining up some of the hard-to-reach spots on the BMW. I do admit, it is in quite good shape for its age.


Today was actually a sunny day. It was nice to have sun shining into the house on a chilly day. I may have mentioned this before, but when there are no clouds to keep in the heat and moisture, it is actually colder, yet drier. And that was today. Sun and stars usually mean chillier. Right now it is clear and 28*F.

Worked much of the day, and then off to a friends party, which went well into the evening. It was out in the 'burbs, so I rode to Fairhaven (see pic) and then caught a ride with a friend.

Wow, so it is midnight and I wonder where the weekend went. Doing little odds and ends certainly eats away at one's day. Oh and the person supposed to stay over changed plans. Oh well. It is off to bed to get a jump on the week. One bell.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


"I ain't often right
but I've never been wrong

It seldom turns out the way
it does in the song
Once in a while
you get shown
the light
in the strangest of places
if you look at it right"

- Robert Hunter

Today, the most exciting thing I did was burned my laptop documents up to a cd-rom. Livin' on the edge, I tell ya. This picture is taken today out the front window: my "office."

But it was quite a productive day on the work front. My head is above water for a moment to gasp for air. And I was able to listen to the complete Missoula, Montana Dead show from 5/14/1974. (What truly a gem is.) A stellar performance, especially the second set from Weather Report Suite through China Doll. Highly, highly recommended.

Then I rode out to run some errands and my bearings held up fine, but the wheel was rubbing due to not enough tightening on the axle nut. Dumb oversight. but a stranger on the street went to his truck to get a wrench and helped me out. Whew. And I was about four miles from home too.

So tonight I get a call tonight from a newly met friend coming in from out of town to crash for a night or so, so in a few days I'll be writing what a cool time we had. Or not. Gotta run. Time to make some tea.

Friday, November 23, 2007


Here's another picture taken yesterday on Chuckanut Drive. A few of the the 178 San Juan Islands are in the distance. Oh, and here is a funny short film I found on You Tube shot in Bellingham.

Needless to say today wasn't a day of doing much. A few business calls, but I really needed a few days of down time, but will hit it hard again tomorrow and Sunday.

I put in storm windows ad repacked the
rear hub on my cool cruiser. And I went to the bike shop for (some pliers, and a set of thirty weight) ball bearings. But actually, it was much easier than it seemed. Tomorrow I need to ride to Fairhaven, so it will be the test to make sure I put the many pieces back together properly. Oh, and my land phone was out of service for a few days and I didn't even realize it was not working. Oops. I don't even know why I have the land line, but I like talking on the old rotary phone I have in my living room. Oh and my dsl.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Okay, so this is the new me. I haven't bought jeans since 1996 and haven't worn a leather jacket since 1985. But leather protects and jeans fit tighter than khakis. And this is not my everyday attire - just for riding.

A great ride today down Chuckanut, albeit a bit chilly towards the end. And I did a totally dork thing when I stopped at a gas station at the pass in Alger: I let the clutch out with the bike in gear and it shot forward six inches and plopped down on the left side. Now I am sure it is not the first time this has happened, nor will it be the last. So I nonchalantly picked it back up, set the sidestand and walked in the store. When in there I realized that I didn't want a huge coffee, so instead bought a Clif bar even though I didn't want that either. But oh what fun it is to ride this motorbike (although I am still a bit nervous). And if it looks like it's in really nice shape in the picture, it's because it is.

So after forty miles or so I went to the kids (my age) of my neighbors', quite possibly the kindest people in the world (now that Mother Teresa is gone). So it was a big gathering of family and friends and altogether a fun time. But it was around the freezing mark coming home, a bit colder than I'd like to be riding. I smell like gasoline; my friend Dan (from Philly) says it's the smell of the road.


Fell asleep at 8:30 last night. Awoke at 8:30 this morning. Henceforth, no post. More later.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


So here I always had an idea where I was born although I never knew exactly where. Well on my last trip to Scranton, I drove past the house and figured I would take a picture of it. We lived in it when it was built new back in 1966, although I have no memories of it.

So today was a day of sun. And in spite of what I wrote yesterday, I was wrong, and I did leave my rain gear at home. Same thing for tomorrow and Thursday. Sun, sun, sun. Problem is, it always get colder out when the clouds do not cap and retain the heat. So with clouds comes a bit more warmth in the air. Clear nights are usually chilly, as tonight will be (in the mid twenties).

I went to catch the movie Into the Wild tonight at the local theater. It was well done but the recklessness of my twenties pales next to this dude's. He sort of reminds me of that goofball guy that lived amongst the grizzlies in Alaska and was later found mauled and in pieces. But it was a long movie and kept moving throughout with few dry spots and nicely woven subplots. Yeah, I would recommend it on the screen. But then again, I've seen some average movies lately.

Monday, November 19, 2007


So this is where my rain gear spends most of its winter evenings - drying off in front of the gas fireplace. One day on your way out the door, you realize that you won't need to pack your rain riding gear today. A nice thought, but probably many months away.

However, it is the most beautiful thing to ride in the winter rain - today a hard drizzle on the ride home at nine o'clock. And it is a beautiful thing to have much good coffee or tea close at hand. Today I rode all over Bellingham and most of it was in the rain. And it is nice to be at home in front of the fire feeling rosy and refreshed like after a day of cross country skiing.

And I found a cool website today that puts the temperature at the bottom of your computer. Yeah, pretty basic, I realize. But I am a little challenged in certain aspects of computers. But this is one of the best weather programs I've ever seen. And it is 37 degrees Fahrenheit in Bellingham right now, by the way.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sun Day

This was not taken today, but on the Fourth of July looking southwest towards (I believe) Orcas Island.

Today was a day of doing house chores. And it was sort of fun. These craftsman houses have crawl spaces underneath that have vents that need to be covered in the winter to keep the house a bit warmer. So I did that, and got sidetracked on shining up the BMW; then I ran some errands, and most sadly, signed papers for a most unfortunate divorce. Mine.

But what a resilient species we are, and a crummy morning (of weather and moods) turned into a nice, although chilly, day with many people out and about. I thought about taking the motorbike out, but that will be Thanksgiving Day (high forties and sunny) to go for a ride and visiting. Instead, I took the Trek cruiser. Then I made some oyster stew, which I must admit turned out pretty good.

Here was how I generally made it:
Into a crock pot (on high) mix together...
- Medium sized container of oysters (1/2 quart?)
- Half of a small container of half & half
- Plenty of sea salt (maybe a 1/2 tbsp or more)
- Three stalks of celery
- Sliced garlic (roughly four medium cloves)
- Two or three medium potatoes
- Medium onion
- A little water, which may have been a mistake
Cook for about 90-120 minutes

Saturday, November 17, 2007


This is a recent picture of me due to lack of sleep.

The fun never ends. Today I went down to the Maritime Expo in Seattle with two commercial fisherman that I work with. Basically a trade show for those that work the waters of the Puget Sound. I just putzed around and ate chocolate (from the vendors' booths). I've heard almost 10% of Bellingham's economy is driven by myriad occupations related to the sea. It was neat though. Really neat. And to ride a bike through the deserted streets of a Pacific seaside town with a light fog and slight breeze at five thirty in the morning with all the sounds and smells of the sea is added to the pile of fond memories.

But the coolest part is that I might be going to Alaska this summer for two weeks for the season up there. The town is 250 people and a few hundred miles up the Yukon River. I've been to all of the 48 lower states, so Alaska will definitely be a trip. And to be flown in on a float plane, as the only road is the river.

Friday, November 16, 2007


This was a picture taken yesterday out the south-facing window southwesterly towards town.

By one indication, I am at my 100th web log post. By the other indicator it is 98. Oh well, I will celebrate by not writing anymore. I need to get up at five tomorrow anyway. Blech.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


This is Philly, and a beautiful view straight down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The last day in the east and a nice weather transition into the PNW. This picture was from Monday. Oh, and I wanted to see a Renoir exhibit at the Philly Art Museum. And a Cezanne painting (Le Mont Sainte-Victoire). But it turns out the Cezanne wasn't even at that museum. And besides, it was closed on Mondays. Oh well.

This morning was a day I thought would be rainy, windy, dark and cold. I had to bike to a breakfast meeting at 6:45, and any two the aforementioned undesirables I can easily handle, but all of them would've sucked at such an early hour. Well it turned out it was only dark and windy, and the strong wind was a tailwind up a small hill to my destination. This weekend I need to repack the hub on my one speed, so that will be a mini-project.

It's nice to be sitting in my easy chair in Bellingham listening to the Mamas and the Papas and decompressing.