Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Another picture of the park on the bay. The little building in a Wood's Coffee Shop, a very popular place where I go for coffee on occasion. I've learned to avoid it at certain time - especially weekends - when it is overrun with people. I like the more reclusive coffee houses in town.

So I am back in Bellingham for two days of whirlwind things that need to be done before my departure for Philly and Scranton, PA (my home) for ten days. Meetings tomorrow go from seven a.m. until seven p.m. Blech. But I am working with a start-up biofuels company here in Bellingham in the midst of some very intelligent and wonderful people. But it is exhilarating and the ride is wild. It's exciting to learn a new and evolving industry - especially one that will arguably determine future standard of living of future generation here in the US and abroad.

So there is no real significance in the Snoqualmie Pass other than the fact that I like the sound of it and we drove over it on the way back from Yakima today. I am still amazed at the beauty and expansiveness of the PNW.

But it is 10:20 and I have a few more hours of work tonight. And I missed the little Halloweeners this evening, which is too bad.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Not much to say. Up at a sickly hour today (4:30am). Went to Tacoma, Portland, and now spending the night in Boardman, Oregon at the River Lodge & Grill. It is located on the Columbia River, although we arrived at dark, and will probably leave tomorrow not much after sunup. So not much to see.

The the dams are fascinating - even at night, and not much more in the darkness. We took I-84 and next week I will be on I-84 in the opposite end of the country. Off to sleep. Missing Bellingham.

Monday, October 29, 2007


This picture was taken a few weeks back when my brother was in town, over on the peninsula at Port Angeles. It's gotten quite cloudy since then, although not a tremendous amount of rain. Well, except for this morning.

I am off to Portland tomorrow in an effort to meet with investors and all sorts of other people in this latest endeavor working with a biodiesel company here in town. Biodiesel has taken root here in the Pacific Northwest, and there seems to be an abundance of companies embracing the concept, as well as government programs, venture capital, and a general public acceptance of the viability of adopting an alternative fuel. It is surprisingly popular in the Midwest. But considering that is where the feedstock is grown, maybe it's not such a surprise.

It's obviously not an cure-all for the woes facing our country, but it may be a step in the right direction. Our current path is in no way sustainable - by any measure - and fortunately being amidst this excitement is reminiscent of the dot-com day, except here something useful and beneficial is being produced, versus the vaporware shams of the tech bubble (of which could arguably say I was a part).

At any rate, up at 4:30 tomorrow morning - an ungodly hour by anyone's standards. I may or may not post tomorrow, as I will be somewhere along I-84 on the Columbia River.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


Yeah, this is a crummy picture. But it shows the engine on the motorbike. I believe it is called a boxer engine, which is an opposed two-cylinder motor. I don't know a whole lot about them, although I am gradually learning. I have a Clymer repair manual, and it looks no harder than working on an old VW.

I think I will learn how to adjust the carburetors, as that seems to have a big impact on the performance. Maybe even rebuild them someday. Everything seems to be very straightforward and easily accessible. But that's obviously being a bit premature, as my mechanical skills are a bit rusty.

But I can see how people fall in love with these bikes. Especially the older ones. I started off doing yard work, but walking by it today sucked up over an hour of my time when I started playing around and cleaning and polishing. I am the last person that I ever thought would become like this. But beauty can take the form of a mushroom, a sunset, or an old 1975 BMW.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Here is a picture on the bike path into downtown Bellingham. I haven't been on this trail for a few days, and I sorely miss it. Maybe tomorrow.

But today was a day of a symposium put on by the Pachamama Alliance, an interesting perspective on hopeful things happening in a presently unsustainably destructive path for humankind. You can sugarcoat it any way you'd like, but unless drastic things change in our society (e.g., consumerism, energy use, water consumption) you cannot grow infinitely in a world of finite resources... aw there I go again.

I think Pachamama stands for something like Mother Earth. This is a description:
We live in an outmoded worldview - a way of seeing the world in which unthinkable acts appear reasonable, sensible, and even intelligent. The indigenous Anchuar people of Ecuador, who still live in earth honoring ways, have urged us, for the sake of all life, to "change the dream of the North."

It was sponsored by the Sustainable Bellingham, a group I've been volunteering with on and off over the past few months. There is a very dynamic thread of people woven into the Bellingham fabric, and it is always fun to go to events such as this and meet up with these people. It was a full day and generally a warm time with good energy. (And great food and coffee!) I look forward to getting more involved with these types of events.

Tonight is a chilly night. And a chilly morning. I rode my bike up the 400-plus foot hill to the Woodside Spiritual Center, but wore thermal underwear, as it was very early when I left this morning and looked colder than it was.

Friday, October 26, 2007


Here is a picture taken on July 4th from a little 22' sailboat on Bellingham Bay. Far off are the Chuckanuts, the last vestige of generally undeveloped land where the Cascade Mountains meet the sea. Since this is the one remaining passage in the Pacific Northwest, it's a rather poignant debate in certain parts.

This entire area was once timbered, although it has returned to a healthy forest. I heard on a radio station how the tree huggers are actually aligning themselves with the lumberjacks, as trees will grow back and sustain the forests; development ruins the land forever. Over 90% of the coast is developed, so it would be nice to save a little bit. But it will probably be paved over, timbered, and built on. Forever. They are trying to stop development by creating a park. Maybe there is hope.

Oh well. Enough complaining.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


"But theres a full moon risin
Lets go dancin in the light
We know where the musics playin
Lets go out and feel the night."
- Neil Young

Tonight was the Harvest Moon - or actually I think it may be tomorrow. Either way, it was still a quite bright night, although I really didn't spend much time outside. You see, today was a day of a challenge regarding a business effort. And it sucked. Fortunately as the shock hit, a friend called to go out to a social function this evening, for which I was grateful. Getting out of the house was a good thing. Oh well, tomorrow is another day, and I think the rush from these challenges is not too much different than mountain biking or alpine skiing. Or possibly gambling or betting, although I do neither of these.

And with the recent rain, mushrooms are sprouting up all over the place. I counted four different varieties in the yard. The mosses and fungi are quite ubiquitous. Not very exciting pictures like a sunset, but beautiful in their own way. Taking time to look at mushrooms is a good thing.

I need sleep. Stress can wear you down. But it was a wonderful day today. And I might ride my motorbike to a client's tomorrow, as he has been asking me about the BMW for the past few weeks. Looks like we're in the midst of an Indian Summer.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Today was a full day of work followed by volunteering at the food bank immediately afterwards. Yeah, I realize some people frequently have days where they leave the house at 7:50am and don't arrive back home until 7:30pm (like tonight). But I don't.

At any rate, the food bank is in a temporary facility while they tear down the old building and reconstruct another at its old address. SO I had to find the new (temporary location). It's always tremendous laughs with both the volunteers and the patrons that I see each week.

On the work front, we drove down to a biofuels facility near Anacortes, Washington, and we happened to drive right by where I had the flat on my motorbike yesterday, about twenty-five miles south of Bellingham. I smiled as I thought of the fun that I had riding. I look forward to getting out again, although it is going to be a busy few weeks of traveling. I will try not to schedule too much (like I do with most trips back to the east coast), although it always seems to happen. Like always though, I look forward to visiting there.

Oh, and the sunset was taken out on the fishing boat (what seems like) eons ago.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Born to be Mild.

This is a picture not too different than yesterday's. So now I look cool and bought my first piece of leather clothing ever in my life. I live near a place that sells all sort of clothes and a few bike parts. Virtually everyone I talked to suggested riding jackets. So logic seemed to indicate leather for its skidding capabilities and other protection. (The guy that owned the leather shop for twenty-some years told me it was good for eighty yards of asphalt.) Plus, I froze my butt off yesterday, and I really have no jackets for fifty-plus miles per hour. A Patagonia anorak may be good for skiing 5,000 feet of vertical, but not riding at fifty miles per hour.

So at any I intended on riding to Concrete, Washington. Things were going fine, although I got a flat riding down old US99, north of Sedro Woolley. A crummy hand, but as luck would have it there was a huge motorcycle shop less than a mile down the road. I can change a car tire, I can change a bicycle tire, but I cannot change a motorbike tire. So after an hours or so I was back on the road, unfortunately aborting the ride to Concrete. But instead, I was able to ride up Chuckanut Drive. One of the prettiest roads that I've ever been on in my life. (Well, except for the trophy homes built by retiring selfish idiots scarring the land forever. They trashed California, let them proceed to trash Bellingham. And now the droves of Canadians, only to get worse with the continued decline of the US dollar...oops, there I go again. Ack!)

In retrospect a great day. And I must've looked cool in my jacket, as other most bikers seem to wave at one another. Cruising along at sixty-plus with the putter of this old VW-sounding motor right beneath you is quite a sensation. I can easily see the passion arising of this unity of person and machine. I might go out back to the garage and look at it one last time tonight.

Monday, October 22, 2007


Okay, so today I picked up the old BMW. It you click on the picture, you can see it a bit bigger. It actually is in better condition than the picture shows. I've been told it has around 50,000 miles on it, which is not bad for something thirty years old.

So I drove off into the headwind down south towards Alger and the Skagit Valley. Fun, fun, fun. This bike seems like old workhorse. Not too fast, pretty solid, sounds sort of like an air-cooled VW. But it dripped gas from a fuel line that needs to be replaced, so I attempted my first mechanical effort (of removing the fuel line) and it was relatively easy so far. Hopefully tomorrow morning I can repair it and go for a ride in the (predicted) seventy degrees and sun.

I can see how people can become passionate about these motorbikes. And I presently have a life that is void of hobbies (for years it was sailing, then skiing and mountain biking, and as of late, nothing), so who knows whether I will pursue this as an occasional means of transportation or more.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Hi Tech.

Bellingham is located about eighty miles (130km) north of Seattle - arguably the technology center of the world, home to Microsoft, Boeing, Starbucks, among many,many others...

I am lucky to take advantage of this by owning the latest cutting edge audiovisual components. To the left is a picture of my Entertainment Center. The television is able to automatically choose the channel you want to watch. I only get one channel, so its choice is rather simple. The radio, circa 1990, is a radio. With CD and retro cassette (although one cassette tape permanently resides there - a Bob Dylan mix: my friend Hugh gave it to me, or maybe he left it in my car ten years or so back). Here is a picture of my communications center. The envy of all those techies out there. Blackberries be damned!

At any rate, a day of sleeping in, reading about biodiesel, and biking for a bit to the coffee shop. A friend called from Tahoe this morning and we reminisced about the wonderful mountain biking we did in on the Tahoe Rim Trail. I've since sold my mountain bike. Although I realize there is wonderful mountain biking here in Bellingham, I somehow should honor the mountain biking gods by sacrificing my Trek to another. Wonderful riding at 9,000 feet with constant views of the lake. Deep blue skies, perfect temperature with zero humidity.

But I do love the drizzle too. Right now there are mushrooms all over the back yard - three different kinds that I counted today. Everything is moist.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


Another picture taken while out on the fishing boat looking towards the peninsula. I think this fishing trip was one of the most interesting things I've done in a long, long time. Since then, the weather has turned totally crummy and I hope they are doing well out there and harvesting the bounty of the Puget Sound.

Me? I need to think what day today is. I was up late last night finishing putting together some financial statements that need to be e-mailed to Denver some time tonight. I am almost done, but it has been stressful getting these together. These are going to some investment bankers and my competence and credibility will be brought to front and center. They will get all seven workbooks (five sheets in each file) and have time to scrutinize them. This is the big leagues and I've done this before many times. "Buck up, Skippy," my inner self says. Maybe I'd rather be on a fishing boat in the driving wind and rain. That's a tough choice. I need to be a bit more confident; I am sure the financial statements will be fine.

I am on my third pot of coffee and second Grateful Dead bootleg. Work today, read up on biofuels tomorrow, and Tuesday shall be my day of leisure. I am picking up the BMW on Monday and I will go for a forty mile ride or so on mostly back roads to the Northern Cascades Highway. Maybe less, if I feel uncomfortable initially. Sixty-four and partly sunny. Ya gotta take what ya get in the fall here.

Back to work. And the rest of Set II: Space-> The Wheel-> All Along The Watchtower-> Morning Dew, E: U.S. Blues (Sam Boyd Silver Bowl, U.N.L.V., 1994-06-26)

Friday, October 19, 2007


As I pass by the captain's house everyday, I frequently wonder how his season is going. Actually I should call him. It has been stormy and rainy in parts the past seventy-two hours and I hope this weather wasn't keeping him in port. Or maybe I should hope that it did keep Miss Guided in port. (I heard there were gusts to fifty knots last night.) At any rate, he does have decades of experience under his belt to know whether or not to go out. Call me a wussy, but I am happy sitting in front of the gas fireplace.

And tonight I took the television out and turned on the only channel I get: KVOS from Bellingham and Vancouver (It has more Canadian than US commercials). Usually there is a good movie on at eight every night. Now I don't think I've every seen a John Wayne movie, so tonight was special. The movie is McClintock, and actually I'm not even paying attention to it. (Hmm. I once knew a Tuck McClintcok from Pittsburgh that was a very interesting and eccentric stockbroker. He lived near me in Shadyside. My fondest memory of Tuck is seeing him wearing a white Andy Warhol inside this party at the opening night of the Warhol museum on Pittsburgh's North Side. My friend and I just walked through the front door and pretty much crashed the party. It's amazing where you will end up with a nice suit, just enough scotch and a your chin up. I heard that poor Tuck passed away from cancer a few years back, which is too bad.)

Oops. I am going way off. Gotta get back to work. But Sunday I hope to pick up the motorcycle and ride next week whenever I get a good window.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


This is a picture of the Olympics from the Miss Guided (the 38' gillnetter). Today was the other extreme of this. Not the amount of rain they predicted, but there were sustained winds of ~forty knots with gusts. And at any time it looked like it could pour. But it didn't.

A group of us went out tonight to a local cafe - the Temple Bar. Although it is always very hot in this place, I always have plenty of fun. It's nice to get out, but I have a few deadlines to meet this weekend. So I am a bit stressed.

At any rate, I wish I could write more, but I am beat tonight. Sunday will be the day of relaxation. Or much neglected yard and house work.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


This was the gillnetter's spartan cabin looking aft. Two berths. Top bunk single, lower double. Stove forward to starboard. (This thing kicked butt and kept the cabin at a constant toasty temperature, as well as water boiling continuously for coffee, although I really didn't drink too much.) Forward of the stove is the galley. And forward to starboard is the helm (or whatever they call it on motorboats) - see the picture below. Port side settee (where I learned to play cribbage on the way back while passing through Deception Pass with the flood tide).

So I drove to Bellevue tonight for a dinner forum on Biodiesel. It was a rental car and other than being able to listen to the Introduction To Nick Drake CD (twice) - I would've rathered my VW. But tomorrow I return the rental car and look forward to resuming the cruiser as the mode of transport. A friend that currently lives in Denver that I met when we were both living in Cincinnati (who incidentally is from near Pittsburgh) gave me the Nick Drake CD years ago, and I think it is probably the overall most favorite music I possess. But back to the is a fascinating industry in which to be working, and the people with whom I work are incredibly intelligent.

I also got my motorcycle endorsement today and my ticket number (to wait in line) was 666 - the sign of the beast. Ominous?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


So you are probably thinking, "oh god not another story about the weather..."

But today I was sitting in a coffee shop about a hundred feet from these marauding kayakers (actually this picture was taken a few days ago), working for much of the afternoon. Of course, right when leaving I experienced a serious downpour. A downpour where your feet are soaked, and everything else will take the remainder of the evening to dry. Like I said last night: rain sucks. Drizzle is fine. I will take ten days of drizzle over one day of this type of hard rain.

But when I was passing out of town on my cruiser after the deluge, I saw a rainbow over the my house. And it stayed over the house for the five minutes it takes to get home. Maybe a good sign.

Not much more, just busy like always and not seeming to get much done. I am glad that fall is in full swing with winter on the heel. When it is warm and beautiful you cannot fathom the thought of cold rain and dark clouds lasting most of the day. But when when you feel the rain on your face and the wet fleece on your chin, it seems only natural.

Warm tea helps too.

Monday, October 15, 2007


This picture was taken last week on the bike trail to work. Fall is in the air. So is drizzle. It rained quite steadily all day, but it is not unwelcomed. Back to the daily grind in a moist sort of way.

And trying to pry rusty finance and accounting skills from the back of my brain created in the foggy decades of yore is most challenging. A writer's block equivalent, sitting in front of an Excel spreadsheet. (How did I get from a fishing boat to this in only two days?) At any rate, I usually write later at night; tonight I am writing at 7:21pm. In a few minutes over to a coffee house for poetry/prose readings. Someday I might read something there. But right now I am finishing up the second set of a 1981 Spectrum show.

Off to Seattle on Wednesday for a dinner. Or actually Bellevue. The road outside is shimmering and not wet, so it may be a good sign that it is doing nothing more than a drizzle. Drizzle is cool. Rain sucks.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


Here is a picture of the two captains exchanging home fries the second morning. The group of three have been fishing together for decades and were always there to support one another. There was regular chatter via two-way radio and the camaraderie between these men can save one another's lives, as they never seemed to fish more than a few miles from each other. Their stories of far off places was most entertaining and the belly laughs in the evening (and throughout the day) were plentiful.

Now I am back on good old terra firma and slept almost twelve hours last night. All this after only observing these guys for merely two days. I can only imagine the physical and mental toil over weeks and weeks in weather conditions that are bound to get worse.

Upon my return home, I packaged and froze the salmon steaks (thirteen in all). Today I sold a kayak I hadn't been using, and went to REI for their big seasonal sale. Yes, I broke down and bought some better bike rain gear for the winter drizzle and a few other much needed things, like some fleece and panniers for my bike.

In the picture to the right, you can see the net floats bunching up in the slack tide. It is a never-ending challenge to deal with the tides, currents, wind and keeping the net somewhat straight. This is our third set on the second day.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Chum Salmon

Click on pictures to enlarge.)

I will attempt to summarize two wonderful days in a few paragraphs.

It was a long two days. And to think their season was only beginning. Not many salmon were caught, as it was the beginning of the run. Better days are ahead, although the three boats (all have been commercial fishing from San Francisco to Alaska for the past four decades and seemed to be very close friends) together harvested around two thousand pounds of chum salmon. A pretty weak opening, but not too uncommon, as it was unseasonable warm and there was little wind (especially the second day). Rougher seas offer less visibility for the fish to see the net, so there were many contributing factors to the lack of fish moving through the strait.

We left early Thursday for the fishing grounds - about five hours of cruising for an opening at noon. We set the net and basically fished all day. Actually, they fished. I didn't do squat. I just stayed out of their way: a crew of two and a third crew that was the business partner (and expert on grading fish) was enough on the foredeck. Slippery aluminum decks and huge moving machinery can be quite dangerous, so I kept my distance. The net is approximately (300 fathoms (1/3 of a mile) long by 100 feet deep. A very large net that still appeared minuscule in the vast Strait of Juan de Fuca.

We anchored the first night in Dungeness and the three boats - all around 35 feet - tied off together after arriving at different times. We had dinner and retired around midnight. The next day was a full breakfast including eggs, toast, home fries and fresh salmon. A seal had bitten part of the fish (a common problem in fishing), so the remainder was baked with and tasted remarkable. Lunch was just as good, with dungeness crab freshly caught off the spit that morning.

The afternoon set (I believe the third set of four) offered the most fish. Yes, only about thirty fish in a yield that can often range in the hundreds in the high season. This is the above picture, just as the sun was setting and we were preparing to retrieve the net.

(This picture is the first day on one of the first sets, just after noon.)

Looking back, I was very lucky to see commercial fishing from this perspective. The fishermen were so very good natured, but they took their jobs very seriously; they had a lot on the line (pun intended). I wish I could write more and wax ore eloquent in the beauty of the my experience, but I am beat.

Memories of grand times like these will last a lifetime. And I learned how to play cribbage too.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Sea...

This picture was take of the Safe Return memorial in Bellingham

Come all you bold seafarin' men

And listen to my song
If you come off of them long trips
I'd have ya's not go wrong
Take my advice, drink no strong drink
Don't go sleeping with no whores
Get married lads and have all night in
So you'll go to sea no more

Okay, so I not even going out beyond the sight of land. Hell, I did more offshore sailing on Lake Erie. But I thought I would play the part of the seafaring bloke living in a fishing town in the Pacific Northwest. Actually, Bellingham is more of a lumber town...but oh well.

Yes, tomorrow I am going out for three days on a 38' gillnetter in the Strait of Juan de Fuca for Chum Salmon. Leaving at six o'clock a.m., be back Saturday (I believe). Packing for cold weather, but the Neptune may bestow upon us a favorable window of moderate temperatures and mellow seas. It actually is forecasted to be mostly sunny on Saturday.

I will probably not write again until Saturday or Sunday, but new pictures and fishing yarns will abound.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


Yeah, the pictures are starting to run thin, but here is one taken over in the rain forest a few weeks back. If you click on it you can see the moss-draped tree. Really neat where entire forests are covered like this. Much of the western side of the Cascades are like this. I have some better pics somewhere, and will need to start carrying my camera.

'Tis quite an uneventful day when you had to ask yourself what you did. I did cut the grass for the first time in months. The recent rains have reinvigorated everything. On the other hand, everyone seems to have downshifted with the clouds and rain, and a pall of lethargy seems to have been cast over Bellingham. Good thing that you are never far from excellent coffee (Bellingham has the fourth highest number of coffee houses per capita in the U.S., so I've been told).

But I am going out for Chum Salmon on Thursday west of Deception Pass, so I am trying to lay low and relax. It's a 38' gillnetter and I've been told I will get some sleep, while others said I will get very little over the 72 hour season. Sleep deprivation is fun. We also have a tender offloading, which indicates that it could be more fishing and less cruising. I am sure that pictures will follow (which reminds me to recharge camera batteries).


Today was a busy day, but it was a day to take the old c.1973 Schwinn out. Actually I switched to the Trek later in the afternoon and got another friggin' flat. (I swear I change tires on that bike more than my boxers.) I had to walk until I saw someone outside riding a bike or looking leek they might own a bike pump, which was about a mile. It was probably a lot less, but it seemed like a mile. I need to pick up liners or something to alleviate that, as my tubes are all polka-dotted with patches.

So I am horribly tired and spent an hour (maybe more) battling with the wireless router upstairs. But I got it working again (this writing being proof). At least I think I now know how to set one up though. And my phone got drenched yesterday in the bag I had at the motorcycle class, so now I might toss that one. I cannot see the display and things like my address book or who's calling. And on top of that, I cannot call from home to retrieve my messages because I no longer have a push-button phone (only a rotary).

Technology is killing me.

Monday, October 8, 2007


This picture is looking south from the backyard. Typical cloudy day in Bellingham.

Today was a day of motorcycle riding in the pouring rain. The classroom part of the rider safety class was inside in the morning, and as predicted, the rain came around noon - just as we went outside to ride on the course. I ended up passing both tests (the written was entirely easy; the practice, not so easy. You see, after riding bikes for a few decades, you get used looking forward about fifteen feet; on a motorcycle you need to look up on a more distant level).

But I often thought that riding a motorcycle is not much different than riding a bicycle, but they really are two entirely different things. Yes, riding on the road will be a bit risky, and that is one thing that anyone on two wheels needs to be aware of: the dangers of preoccupied people in cars (on cell phones especially) that have been shown to be equivalent to drunk drivers on the road. Oh on the edge.

And of course, the rain and clouds cleared for a dramatic and beautiful sunset as I was biking to the grocery store. A Trader Joe's just opened up the street, which is all the rage. My food needs are not very diverse or great, so I have not been there yet. It's only a few blocks away though, so I will eventually venture up there.

Saturday, October 6, 2007


This is definitely not a picture taken today, which was cloudy, drizzly and blustery, but at least the heavy rain held off until the evening. And although I was outside all day today, I did see the sun for about ninety seconds.

I can see how people love motorcycles. I rode around this course today on a little dinky Honda 125, and could only imagine being on the open highway cruising over mountain passes, along the coastline, or anywhere on the open highway. Very freeing, and I cannot wait to get my bike - hopefully this week. But the class was very beneficial, and I would recommend it to anyone. The people that run it are all ex-military, and in spite of their collective good nature, they still take the subject matter very seriously.

At any rate, tomorrow is a full day of class in the morning, followed by riding in the afternoon, and hopefully a successful test to be taken at the end of the day. Then a few more days until I can get to the licensing bureau to get my endorsement, although it will probably be next week.

More stories to tell in the next few days. Off to sea on Thursday, but busy with work in the interim. But that is good.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Live to Ride

Tonight began the weekend class for the motorcycle safety class. Surprisingly, the class is roughly fifty-fifty men to women. And all sorts of interesting people that ride for all different reasons. This picture was taken from the North Sound Safety website.

I never in a million years thought I would be buying a motorcycle. (If my poor mother was alive I could only imagine her maternal inclinations.) But my friend Hutch planted the seed last year and suddenly I caught the bug for both reasons of practicality and getting amongst the beauty of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. And the BMWs are widely accepted among the Harley crowd, as well as the Japanese bikers (so I've been told). I am looking forward to getting the proper endorsement on my license and then waiting for some nice weather. I will probably pick up the bike in a week, and then it will sit in the garage until a window appears. One of my first planned trips will be to Leavenworth, Washington.

Tonight was classroom instruction; tomorrow is class and then riding practice, and the same thing Sunday. And rain is predicted at 60%-80% tomorrow and 90% Sunday. Yes, I anticipate being a fair weather biker, but getting wet is par for the course.

The class is right at the foot of Cornwall Ave. and you can see Western's campus in the background. Off to bed for me - it has been a long week.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


I have been working some long hours and initially had some trouble settling into a routine and confining myself to a desk, as many people do when they try to work from home. Fortunately, I found, a really cool website that streams all sorts of live recordings and videos. Best of all, it has virtually all Dead shoes from ~'65 on through '95. And even more recent shows (but who cares once Jerry passed). At any rate, the link above takes you to an Olympic Halle, Munich, Germany on October 12, 1981, the best years of the Grateful Dead: 1979-1981 (This is merely my opinion, and is disputed by many, if not all. Some day I will explain my reasoning behind that, but not tonight). At any rate, I popped this show in, and turned up my forty dollar Cambridge Soundworks speakers (with sub-woofer). They actually sound quite decent, and they are the best audio equipment I have in my house.

An entire show keeps me anchored to my desk, as I never understood why anyone jumped from song to song on live recordings. Start listening to set one, listen to the whole show. And if you need to leave, please pick up where you left off upon your return. These shows of yore - front to back - have been quite effective in improving my productivity. God Bless the Grateful Dead. And America too.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Weather (Again)

This picture was taken a few weeks back. It is the Nooksack River near Glacier, Washington. That's me staring up at the majestic and towering firs and cedars. The water, being mostly glacial runoff, is pristine. And cold.

So not to obsess on the weather, but I want to be a weatherman in Bellingham. (A friend told me that people that talk about the weather have nothing else to talk about. I most certainly do - just ask the girl at that listened to my stories ranging from New Orleans to biofuels at the coffee shop an hour ago.) How could they be more atrociously wrong? The forecast for today? Heavy rain, thunderstorms, hail, wind...90% chance. What really happened? Partly cloudy, a wee bit of drizzle, and the sun peeking through. I am not complaining though. It was a good day.

So I found that next week my fishing expedition takes me next Thursday from Squalicum Harbor aboard a 38' gillnetter. It should be an experience of a lifetime (for me, at least) and the season will last roughly seventy-two hours. I should be back in Saturday night. We are expected to be fishing the Strait of Juan de Fuca near Dungeness if weather permits.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Work and Apples

This is a sunset from a while back. Today was drizzle, rain, drizzle and clouds. How the seasons change quite abruptly. Summer was years ago, and the crispness of fall is upon us. Fallen apples litter the grass of the lawns around town. I will pick some up at the corner market up the street this weekend. Apples from now until May. Yum. But it has become pitch black at eight o'clock at night, and lethargy has set in. Everyone seems to be running a little slower.

And work has picked up to a brisk pace. Today was a non-stop day from eight thirty until now, but fortunately good things are happening. I am working with a company (sort of under wraps right now, beside - in case you really haven't noticed, I rarely talk about those I work with) that is exactly what I longed for during my somber suit-and-tie career staring from a glassed in office in a soulless world: I am working with a company that can make a difference for the better in the world, an exploding and highly profitable industry, and a company culture that nurtures individualism and talent. Oh, and a position where I can basically dust off the all the education I knew would someday serve a greater purpose. And it is amazing how quickly those things settled in the depths of undergrad come back to you.

Off to bed.

Monday, October 1, 2007


This picture was taken from the front window. Nothing of photographic significance. Just a typical cloudy day in Drizzleham. Here is a link to the harbor cam.

Actually, I enjoy this type of rain versus the torrents we had last week. This is the point where you always carry rain gear with you. The sun does peek through for a bit and it is even quite sunny for a bit. But then the next wave of clouds pass through, and with them comes the rain. Everything is turning green again, springing back to life. Soon it will become dormant again for the slumber of winter.

Yes, last November, December and January were the cold months. And this past winter was unseasonably cold. These Nor'easters blow down from the Fraser Valley and dip the temps into the teens. This happened twice last year. And these houses are not made for very cold weather like the ones back east, so one is quite chilly inside. The gas bill for the month of February was a whopping $59. Gone are the days of $13 gas and $25 electric bills. Time to use the clothes drier again versus the clothesline outside.

Add to the moisture in the air and it is c*o*l*d. Call me a wuss, but the moist sea winds always make it seem twenty degrees colder than it is. I have not been as chilled to the bone back east in zero degree temperatures as I have been here when it was thirty. Fortunately the standard winter temp hovers around forty Fahrenheit with clouds and drizzle. And wind. This weekend was a gale, which can gust in the fifty-knot-plus range.

But enough of the wind and weather. Off to bed at a reasonable hour tonight. Busy rest of the week.