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.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


This picture was taken a few weeks back from the bike trail.

Yes, after a god-forsaken 37-hour trip from Philly to Bellingham, I finally arrived home early this morning. I hope to never leave Bellingham again. Now I am all for free markets, but both the health care and airline industries have failed consumers miserably in this country. Something is woefully wrong in both. And with the continued increase in the price of fuel, things are only bound to get worse.

I was feeling a bit down today due to lack of sleep and went to a morning meeting, but my spirits were quickly lifted when the first biker passed me up the street from my house and wished me a good morning. It is good to be home. People making eye contact and smiling versus looking at their feet when they walk past you. I miss smiles and nods of Bellingham.

Out to change a flat on the bicycle. I bought so Mr. Tuffy tire liners a few weeks back and of course I haven't gotten a flat since. Well until today. So now I will go out to the garage and put the tire liners on the bike and hopefully have fewer repairs going forward.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I wanna go home...

So this is the picture of me performing Comes A Time at the sangeet last Friday night. I thought I sucked, but many people complimented me on my performance. The cool thing about Hindu ceremonies is that going barefoot (or sockless) is totally acceptable. And that is alright by me.

So my saga of returning home continues. I am getting closer to Bellingham, and after a canceled flight, I am sitting in the SeaTac airport - probably the nicest airport I've ever been in, and a pleasurable place in which to be stuck - writing this from a Tully's coffee shop. But I am beginning to smell (I packed just enough, but the socks are a bit ripe) and look forward to getting back to my home, sitting in front of the gas fireplace working into the evening and listening to jazz, or just biking around town. I really miss my bikes. And the smiles of the people in Bellingham also beckon.

I was quite depressed and lonely yesterday leaving all the wonderful times and friends on the East Coast. But when I was back in touch with the great people I know back here in Washington, those feelings quickly dissipated. It is always nice when you have something wonderful to return home to. In the choppy seas of my life, my friends, family and acquaintances are the anchorage keeping me safe.

Oh, and by the way, the winds yesterday were reported at 90mph. I have lived in few places where it is not uncommon for shingles to get torn off roofs. Bellingham is one such place. But I look forward to the freshness of the rain-drenched and cloud enshrouded mountains and evergreens. As long as my roof is intact. Now the older garage roof out back is a different story...

Monday, November 12, 2007


This picture is from the auction last week in Hop Bottom, Pennsylvania. Basically aqnything old- toys, tools, furniture, household stuff...even radios - could be found here. I went there to meet an old friend that has a keen eye for certain things and resells these items elsewhere.

So I didn't quite make it back to Bellingham tonight, although I really like to be back in the moist (and windy) PNW. The flight from Philly was late, I missed the BLI connecting flight, so Delta put me up in a hotel tonight - a Comfort Suites. I hope the little home was okay, as a wind storm blew through. But gusts to 30mph are nothing like the 70+mph winds we had last winter.

Oh well. Not much more to write about from Utah, but this was a very eventful week and lots of work needs to be completed by the end of the week, as the 'vacation' is over. What a fun time though!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Wedding II

So last night wast the Hindu ceremony. Or actually all day yesterday was the Hindu festivities. Today was the Christian side and the ceremony was at an Episcopalian church in the beautiful area of Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania. And more eating, dancing, meeting wonderful people from all over and a generally wonderful feeling of being around good people. The Hindi people were overly accommodating to our (partially) Polish heritage and vice versa.

This picture is of the church where the wedding was held, and it was a tremendous treat to see the two families get to know each other in these two settings. I am exhausted, and winding down my week in Pennsylvania. I am sad too that such fine times are coming to an end, but another pile of fond memories were created.

The stragglers are still downstairs partying, but it is 1:30am and sleep beckons. The world is full of some wonderful people, and I am very lucky to be amongst them.

Friday, November 9, 2007


Today was a Hindu portion of a family wedding. I am intrigued by the Indian culture and have found these weddings to be beautiful and warm and tremendous fun. It was a long day and started from this morning's breakfast with the groom's family and the ceremony and the evening dinner/reception. The food was wonderful and all the attendees were very friendly.

I also performed at the sangheet, which is a variety of skits, poems, songs, and other entertainment at the reception. I am a mediocre guitar player, but managed to pull off a performance of one of the few uplifting Neil Young songs I know - Comes A Time. It was great to spend endless time with friends and family, and an afternoon nap certainly helped matters.

The vacation is waning and a few days lie ahead before the plane takes me back to Bellingham. But tomorrow is the Christian ceremony, so another day of excitement is anticipated for tomorrow. Geeze, I didn't even leave the hotel today except for a few minutes to run out to get something out of the rental car's glove box. And that is good. Off to sleep.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Philly Again

So here is where I crashed a few nights back in Philly with an old friend of mine. It is a very comfortable home that my friend has and I probably will end my trip here in Philadelphia by staying here on Sunday night - my last night.

Today was a day of more visiting and family. But I am having a stay at a hotel in Plymouth Meeting, so I should not need to drive anymore and can sleep in a few days.

Again, I have found my visit back east to be wonderful and fun, albeit exhausting. So I am hanging out in the lobby of the hotel, people watching and working. And I long to sleep in tomorrow. The northeastern energy of the city just sucks you into its wake. Everyone moves with intent and fervor. It is truly different from the world I know back in the little Bellingham. I miss the smniles of the Pacific Northwest. When passing you on the street, people here look at their shoes a lot more and make eye contact a lot less. Just an observation.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


It has been a few days of taking regional rail around Philly and DC. Above is a picture of 30th Street Station - a beautiful grand old building in West Philadelphia that was my stomping ground in the early eighties. Some day you can ask me the story about the harmless fun that occurred late one summer night with three fraternities brothers on the roof of this building, but I need not volunteer that information here.

This was where I took the train from on Sunday to the airport. I have some dinner plans with family in Norristown tonight. Oops, gotta run.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


Here is the place I stayed for the past few old friend that I knew for the past few decades - actually since around 1979. At any rate it was wonderful to see some old friends and unfortunately I didn't get to see all I would have liked. My time was limited and my schedule changed. Back to Philly tonight and a drive to DC for a morning meeting.

It was wonderful weather in Clarks Summit and Scranton, and I miss seeing all the places from my youth. But is is the nostalgia of one's childhood home, and some day I may return there. But I am quite relaxed in Bellingham, and really am not in a position or space to come back east. So as I am on the East Coast missing my Bellingham home, as well as my childhood home.

But Scranton is still reeling from The Office convention last week, and the buzz is in the air how Scranton is reinventing its hipness. I found a coffee shop that served a cool Americano with wi-fi, so that helped.

Up early tomorrow, but a few days after that to relax. Then a wedding.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Electric City

Written Saturday en route:

I am somewhere over the Midwest about an hour from Philly writing on my laptop at 37,000 feet. Since this is the first time out of Bellingham since July of 2006 (other than a few business trips) it is refreshing and I am looking forward to the hustle and bustle of the East Coast. For a week. Thoughts of the laughs and good times that I have with old friends and family from back east bring a smile to my face and I am looking forward to arriving.

I did forget to add extra fastener my suitcase, so I hope it makes the trip in the cargo hold intact. The woman at the Bellingham airport told me the baggage handlers in SLC (my layover) were pretty tough, so I will keep my fingers crossed as the suitcase comes down the conveyor.

Time to finish my productive spell here with some work I was doing. This was written 12:30PT/3:30ET on Saturday, so I really do not know when I will be able to upload it.


I made it to Norristown, and everything went smoothly. Lotsa fun in Philly – met some old college friends and then took the train to the airport to pick up a car (first pic).

Off to Scranton Sunday night, which is where I am sitting in a coffee house on the courthouse square typing this. Finally able to get caught up on sleep, and stayed in South Scranton last night (see second pic). Beautiful weather and nice to be back in the Electric City.

I am lucky to get a good cup of coffee in Scranton, which is nice. Scranton has (but really hasn't) changed a whole lot. Gotta get some work done.

Friday, November 2, 2007


Although Bellingham is now my home, I always refer to Clarks Summit, PA as home. And that is where I'm off to next week by way of Philly for my cousin's wedding and meeting up with good old friends. As I have been busy, I haven't really laid out any formal itinerary. I used to get away with couch surfing when I was younger, and think I may be able to still pull it off. Only for a few nights. But I recently had to changed plans so the flow changed and I need to shift gears. Usually when I travel, I stay a few nights here, a few nights there. And it is usually sporadic and spontaneous.

I also bought a suitcase from my neighbors' garage sale for three dollars and there is a funky smell permeating the room. I hope it is not coming from this suitcase containing all of my clothes for the next ten days, but it could be the case (pun intended).

So it took two full nights to get all my tasks completed and I almost feel comfortable and possibly even relaxed. Also, my neighbor will drive me to the airport in the morning at 4:45.

So there may be sporadic entries over the next week. Although I will have me laptop with me, as it will not be all play.

Thursday, November 1, 2007


Today was day of staving off those things that happen to oneself when running on too little sleep. So I am riding to a very important management meeting this morning and the BMW stalls out a few blocks from my home. Crap. And I was running against the clock and needed to travel about four miles up some hills.

So I asked a god, if one happened to be listening, to save my butt and get this thing running. Sure enough, after a few tries, the God of Ignition cast favour upon us and it sputtered to life. (I am learning how the choke works. And I also think I flooded it - it was a cold morning.) The rest of the day was smooth sailing.

And it was a day of riding all around town to clients' places and realizing tremendously fun and invigorating it is. The many waves of stress are flowing over me, and a great way to release them is through a nice brisk ride out and about. Cold and cloudy but at least dry. I felt like a kid out sledding and realizing he should go inside because he is freezing, but is willing to sacrifice comfort for the exhilaration of speed and motion. But the bike is put away for the week, and I probably won't get to ride again for a few weeks. Oh what fun.

Oh well...back to the list of 100 tasks to complete by the time I leave for Philly on Saturday.

Oh and that is not my motorbike in the picture. I pulled that one off the internet, but it is pretty much the same as mine.