Thursday, February 28, 2008


I think today is my 202nd post. I don't know why that matters as a milestone. But it seems like it might.

I remember the 100th post. Tempus fugit.

I feel crummy and think I will sign off early.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


The weather has turned warmer. And I made a it through this winter relatively unscathed from the standpoint of utilities. Maybe being chilly for four months paid off, as the high gas and electricity bills were around $44 and $77, respectively. Now it is 8*C or mid-forties Fahrenheit.

Tonight was a might at the food bank bagging bulk rice. It is really enjoyable to be among volunteers (and clients alike) whose ages range from middle school kids to old timers and that you get to see every week. I make it there most Wednesdays to volunteer and it is always plenty of fun.

This is another picture taken a fews days back of the GP mill in downtown Bellingham. Today more clouds. And drizzle. And I am running out of vitamin D pills.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


A day today of working. And not much more. A few errands. And finding a mechanic to do some repairs on the BMW R60/6. Here is a picture of Holly at Cornwall in downtown Bellingham taken yesterday looking north-ish. Today was {drum roll}...cloudy.

An uneventful day and I wish I had more to write, but I cannot think of anything to write. I may have scored a cheap ticket to Las Vegas direct from Bellingham. As much as I loathe everything that Vegas stands for, I am quite desperate for sun and warmth. And I need to get away from this laptop for a few days.

More is sure to follow.

Monday, February 25, 2008


Here is a picture of the old Georgia Pacific factory from the third floor of the stairwell of a hundred year-old office building downtown at Holly and Cornwall. Off in the distance are the San Juans.

Many of the building are from the pulp and bleaching mills at GP. There are long-terms plans to take the facility down and do something with it. God, please save some of these relics of Bellingham's gritty, industrial past.

And unfortunately, what will probably adorn this site will be generic condos like those sprouting up all over Bellingham. Condos that remind me frighteningly of timeshares in Lake Tahoe. A little less wood trim up here those. And a marina for boats forty feet LOA and above. Some day I will dock my Swan 42 there. Wait, that's not living a minimalist lifestyle. Or is it?

Sunday, February 24, 2008


So the roommate turned me on to a really cool reggae remake of a Pink Floyd album called Dub Side of the Moon, and I've been listening to it over and over during the past day. Cool reggae music seems to propagate when the sun shines here and good vibes are in the air. And a book I am reading by Annie Proulx - what an incredible author; the Flannery O'Conner of the north - has a character in it named Dub. But I only read a chunk of the day, as I needed to do work in the afternoon and into the evening.

Today the clouds returned. But at least no rain and the ground is getting less mushy - its perpetual state all winter. The picture is of Maggie yesterday doing what she does best. And I do not know if I mentioned, but we decided not to repair the 16' chunk of fence between the two yards that we took down during one of the wind storms. It's actually pretty nice to talk to your neighbors.

Oh, and a friend is getting a comic book published soon (now?) that is going to b a national release: Bartholomew of the Scissors. A pretty big deal. There are some interesting people in this town, and I am lucky to know many of them.

Back to the reggae music...and finishing the book.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Mt. Baker

Today was both warm and sunny. Finally. You can see Mount Baker here from the backyard and the white snow shining off it was quite commanding. The dark ridge are the mountains I rode on the other side of on the motorbike last Sunday - down SR9.

But today I spent the morning working the afternoon doing yard work (and deciding with the neighbors that putting the fence back up was not of the utmost importance right now, as we enjoy interacting with one another) and then for coffee to sit in the sun for a bit. A beautiful day, but one that is just teasing us. But it looks like spring is here, as the heather is blooming and bulbs are bursting forth. Fifties and some nice non-rainy days ahead.

And Maggie snuck into the compost pile tonight and god knows what she ate and now I am sharing the room with a flatulent dog. I need to tend some of the fences keeping her from getting in.

Friday, February 22, 2008


So there has been tremendous benefit to the growth of this area due to the the plentiful lumber that covered the mountains - firs, cedars, pines, etc. It is still an impassioned topic here, as the tree huggers (me, sort of) square off against the developers and other landowners here. I try not to get involved too much in this debate, as the days of the dominance of lumber are behind Bellingham. Most of the milling is done elsewhere anyway, I believe, and stewardship of the forests seems to be a bit more the norm versus the clearcutting of the past.

Unfortunately, much of the peninsula is quite unsightly du to the clearcutting of what (I believe) is federal forest lands that you and I subsidize at the benefit of the timber industry. Much replanting does occur, but much does not. Too bad. I feel the forests the greatest renewable resource this country possesses.

I am quite tired tonight and have a day of meetings tomorrow, so I will sign off. I am not thinking too clearly and it is midnight.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


"Aujourd'hui, maman est morte. Ou peut-être hier, je ne sais pas. J'ai reçu un télégramme de l'asile: Mère décédée. Enterrement demain. Sentiments distingués. Cela ne veut rien dire. C'était peut-être hier"
- Camus

Today I got divorced. Or maybe it is tomorrow. At any rate, it was rather odd that last night, the last day of my marriage, there was a lunar eclipse. On my honeymoon, the second night at anchor aboard a decrepit Beneteau 32 bareboat charter (that had been raced too much and never should have been in the charter fleet), we dinghied in and sat on the steps of a bar watching another lunar eclipse. It was on the island of Canouan and when I went into order a Hairoun beer and a ginger beer, saw the the bartender was watching the eclipse on an old television. The bar was empty, except for the two of us sitting out on the steps on a warm Caribbean night smoking cigarettes and drinking beer. "You should come outside to watch the real thing," I suggested. And he did. And the three of us watched the lunar eclipse together on the steps of a local bar. The people in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are very friendly, although they have very little. And they have a nice flag (above).

But today was a day of reggae music. And sun. And tons of cyclists on the street. Today was a teaser day. For more rain and clouds await us for another few months.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Well tonight would be a great night to be in bed by ten p.m., as tomorrow is an early morning meeting - like all Thursdays. We are doing a permaculture bike tour through Bellingham. Yeah, it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling to feel I'm doing something mitigate humans' impact upon the planet and our inevitable need for change, whether by choice or not. But deep in my heart I feel it is too late.

It appears our ecosystem is in the beginning stages of collapse. Recently I read and heard about the white-nose syndrome mystery plaguing the entire bat population in the Northeastern U.S. By some accounts, bats may be entirely wiped out from this area, as scientists have virtually no idea what is causing it. I heard it compared to the colony collapse disorder and similar future freakish occurrences in nature will not surprise me. Things are definitely changing and the future does not bode well for this planet as we know it. But fortunately for the sake of time, the earth will have a few million years to recover after human being habitation of 10,000 years.

But it was cool to see the tail end of the lunar eclipse. Time to sign off.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Although this picture was not taken today, it was a warm, sunny day. And a day of more meetings. Almost until ten tonight. Tomorrow will mellow out a bit.

But I did get a break today and talked to a gentleman on his way back from Mexico to BC on his BMW 1150RT. It doesn't take much to get me engaged in conversation in this town, and I asked him about his bike. And that led to hearing his story of traveling up and down the west coast into Mexico. It was very interesting and piqued my wanderlust. Once conditions change, I will get out on the road on my motorbike. The Olympic Peninsula, Lake Chelan - many points beckon.

Time for sleep. Very tired.

Monday, February 18, 2008


This is probably the worst of the three pictures I took today, but I liked Maggie's shadow. She seems to find the perfect spot where the sun can warm her and lies there. Today was a beautiful and sunny day and I spent very little of it outside. Actually I didn't get a chance to ride my bike. Well except to take the old Schwinn down to the corner to fax a document. I should never have given away my fax machine in 2004, although this is the first time I've really missed it, so maybe it wasn't such a bad move.

Tonight was a dinner meeting and home to do the nightly things like write here, and I need to get a bunch of reports out tonight, as well as straighten a bit - there is an appraiser coming tomorrow morning for my home refinance. It looks like that might work out, as being a self-employed slacker for the past few years does not bode well for getting a mortgage. I recently found that one thing more important than earnings is a good credit score (and a friend that is an expert in the industry). And to think I needed a co-signer a few years back to buy a six-pack. My, how things change.

Here is a funny link a friend sent as I was typing this.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Today the yard work quickly was discarded for a ride on the BMW motorbike. This is a crummy picture, but that is Lake Whatcom in the background, the place where we get out drinking water. Next to Lake Tahoe, this is the best drinking water I've ever tasted. I could go off on the overdevelopment along its shores causing a steady degradation in its my water quality. But I won't. It was a good day.

But the R60/6 performed well although it will needs a few minor tweaks. I need to find a mechanic also that can work on it. I think there is one a few blocks away. I went on a forty or fifty mile ride today and was amazed at the whole new world that opened in fron of me. Riding a motorcycle and stopping off for a cup of coffee twenty miles south of Bellingham turns into a instantaneous camaraderie with three younger Ducati riders. And the fact that motorcycle riders all wave to one another. Another entire dimension opened up in my world that I never knew existed.

And coming the SR9 past Acme, Washington - the large patches of the smooth white snow-covered clearcuts contrasting with the blanket of black pine trees reminded me of the markings on an Orca. And Mount Baker majestic and pristine in the distance.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


So today I had a group of people over from a group that I volunteer with - probably a group that is most closely aligned with my worldview and is active with local events. I am helping with a few events, including a permaculture workshop scheduled for next month. We were lucky to have this small workshop held in my home by one of the best area leaders in sustainability and mediation. The three-hour workshop was on non-violent communication, and it was a tremendous way to spend the afternoon.

The I ran some errands and was lucky enough to be able to take the R60/6 out for a spin. Nothing exciting - just down to do some work at a friend's business. But it was nice to have the air rushing by and the feel of the highway. I think the motorbike is running well and dpeending upon my mood, I might take it on an 100 mile ride tomorrow with friends.

Tonight, it is off to see some bands. It is my night out.

Friday, February 15, 2008


Today I feel like a blob because I didn't get to ride my bike. And I sat on my butt a good part of the day. And I ate a piece of pizza. Maybe the pizza had nothing to do with it. So tonight I relax at home with the dog at my feet. Tomorrow is a busy day, but full of fun stuff.

This picture is taken the next block from my home behind the Bellingham High School. With all the development going on around Bellingham, it is nice to see the tree-covered knob near the center of town (in the middle of the picture). It is the arboretum and fortunately was spared the ax. There are great views from the top.

Sun is on the horizon, but today was crummy and drizzly. But the day was spent in earth-tone offices with florescent lighting. Tonight is a night of watching Ocean's Eleven on The Channel, sleep and bagels for people coming over midday.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Here's a picture on the bike path looking south towards downtown about a half block from my home. The high school sports field is on the right. Today was a full day of this thing called work. Blech.

But best to stay busy, as this weekend is supposed to be nice. I am getting more psyched to take the R60/6 motorbike out, as I stopped by today to talk to the old owner. He drove it from Tennessee to Washington a few years back and told me about the cool rides through Idaho along the rivers and canyons.

The forecast for Sunday: Sunny. Highs in the mid 50s. That is a day not to be missed. And the bulbs are pushing through. I was told that early February usually is the beginning of spring here. It seems to be true, as I was told this was a pretty average winter. I am ready for warmer winters. I was told by quite a few people that the successive winters get no easier here. Although I didn't get sick there year (unlike virtually everyone else I know) this is the second year I seem to have had a low-level lingering chest cold. The moist coldness permeates one to the bone.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Here is a picture taken about six blocks from my house downtown on Railroad Avenue.

Another friggin' day that Firefox crashed on my Dell (well yesterday was Blogspot). So I write with less zeal than the first effort, as I need to get to bed.

A day of work, food bank, then cooking soy beans. Real excitement. But a Harley biker dude that I work at the food bank is going out riding on Sunday so I might join him. It is to Deception Pass - about 100 miles round trip, so it might be a good trip to start the season. Or maybe I will go out for a shorter shakedown on Saturday on the R60/6, but work is piling up, so it is a decision that need not be made right now.

Temps in the fifties are coming with a taste of spring. And no rain. Whee!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


I woke this morning to an odd bright yellow orb in the sky, casting its light through the window. This sunny morning and okay day was greywashed by the fun of meeting the ex to sign papers for the divorce, which occurs next week.

And she gave me back a book of mine that I bought for my deceased mother back in the nineties: Clyde Hare's Pittsburgh. Some days when I am this down - one might say depressed - I wish I was back east in a place like Pittsburgh. But fortunately I have friends here that offer a shoulder on which to cry.

This is my second go-around on tonight's post, as the first one got mistakingly erased. So much for the Save Now button I repeatedly hit to save the draft. So I really do not feel like typing with the zeal I did a few hours back on my first attempt.

Monday, February 11, 2008


As the western side of the sate is the wet side, the eastern side is the dry side. This is a picture taken from a friend's site that I met in the bike-to-work group. I actually found and read his site before I even moved to Bellingham. But the east side is dry, rolling, colder and hotter. And a place that I am sure you will see pictures of when I take the BMW east in the spring.

But today was a warmer day and like any other places I've lived, when the weather gets nicer - east coast or west - people drive like idiots. Both myself and roommate had an incident commuting to or from work today. She had a run-in with a cell-phone wielding soccer mom; mine was with an angry fat kid in a late-80's Honda Prelude.

So being on a bicycle or motorbike, you always need to act as though you're invisible to these drivers, as they're probably doing at one or two other things unrelated to driving (and from the studies I've read, as dangerous as drunk drivers). We know the ones, but I digress. Generally a good, rainy day.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


“Winter grey and falling rain,
We'll see summer come again,
Darkness falls and seasons change
(Gonna happen every time).
Same old friends the wind and rain,
Summers fade and roses die,
You'll see summer come again,
Like a song that's born to soar the sky.”
- John Perry Barlow,
Weather Report Suite (Part I)

So today it really rained and I was a virtual shut in. The sun came out for around ninety seconds around noon and then it totally cleared up right around four or five. So I went to work climbing under the house trying to put a support in. You see, the prior owners did some plumbing work and...well you know the story. There is a section underneath that needs to be raised about an inch and a support added. Fortunately a friend should be able to help me out on this project that is pretty much beyond my ability. Or I can pay someone to do it, but bartering is better.

Then to the coffee shop and back home to watch a movie tonight. I have a DVD player that I picked up for cheap, so I will begin to frequent Film Is Truth again. A more mellow week lies ahead, and I am insured on the R60/6 motorbike, so the road beckons. But I will wait until the temp tops fifty and Bellingham dries out. Someday soon.

Saturday, February 9, 2008


So today was a day that I participated in the democratic process on the local level. Down the street to the local high school to hear which lesser of two evils we choose. It is a fun way to spend some free time - not that any of the prospects can address any of the true issues facing our country. I don't even see any fundamental differences in either party.

But enough cynicism. Today was a bland day of doing some domestic chores. Then to the coffee shop and of course getting sidetracked by seeing a friend and changing my plans a bit. Shopping, cooking, laundry and drizzle. Although it is getting much warmer (nine degrees Celsius at midnight) and everything is waiting to explode in green. This picture was taken awhile back, but the vegetation generally stays green all winter.

Not much more here...time to sleep. And back to work tomorrow.

Friday, February 8, 2008


Bad picture. I couldn't use the flash as I might awaken her. The life of sleeping till noon. But at least she participated in the afternoon conference call. We've been working a lot from home, and Maggie is certainly a mellow dog. Rarely barks or begs, but give a mean wet willy. A little fireplug she is.

Other than that, not a whole much excitement here. Met a friend for dinner, then coffee. Tomorrow I believe I vote, and just may. Our political system is in a state of collapse and all these idiots are two sides of the same coin - whether Republican or Democrat and cannot deal with any real issues at hand. Maybe I'll vote socialist or libertarian, depending upon my mood. I don't even know with which party I am registered. I wonder if a dog can be president. I'd bet not.

I am doing searches to get some inexpensive camping gear online. I do not need all the fancy gear, but would like to stay dry and warm. A sleeping bag, tent and backpack are in the works. I have not spent times camping in the mountains, but this summer I hope to.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


A busy as all hell day today. Seven this morning through ten tonight. But a friend called from Philly and reminded me of a possible trip to Banff this April. Hmm.

But here is picture taken on the back side of Heavenly in Lake Tahoe. This was out of bounds skiing the back side from the 10,000ft Dipper chair down to the floor of the Carson Valley (around 5,000ft) - probably a highlight of my short-lived skiing career: the huge untracked bowls and long descents. I am the one in the heinously out-of-style (c.1985) red ski pants. Sooner or later they will come back in style.

Not much more, but the sun peeked through for about 90-seconds today. And the temps have warmed into the higher 40's so that makes quite a difference. And no rain helps. Very dramatic, fast moving clouds. Tonight I went to a permaculture planning event I hope to be a bit more enthusiastic in my gardening endeavors this summer.

And tomorrow I can sleep in. Yay!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Another windy night. Fortunately the house has withstood these incessant buffeting forces - currently at 51kph. But a picture of Boulevard Park (left) helps keep the days of drear (like today) in check. I can handle the rain, but not the cold rain. And seeds of summer trips are beginning to sprout. This summer, a trip to Barkley Sound might be in the works.

And a string of robberies has turned Bellingham into a crime rampant town. Mr. Big Time is holding up small businesses. Sort of funny. Once in a while we get a murder. But people seem to be too laid back to worry about killing one another. But sometimes someone does vomit on a repulsively large SUV.

In Bellingham people walking or biking always seem to give each other a simple nod of acknowledgment when passing one another. Sometimes a smile accompanies the nod. But usually not. The Bellingham Nod is something that took me awhile to comprehend and is quite common. Time for sleep.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


This is a picture taken of a far, faraway place. It is called Summer. When you have days like today (which I briefly deemed intolerable), summertime seems oh so distant. Rain (imagine that) and gusts to fifty knots. Fences blown over; roof shingles littering the yards. The morning commute sucked, but warm tea and breaking weather led to a better afternoon. And a striking sunset (not this one mind you, this is from August) ended the day. Thank goodness for a workhorse bicycle. And a fine tailwind from the south on the way home.

And I know a reason why people are usually late in this town. You cannot get from one end of town to the other without stopping (or in today's instance being stopped). A friend pulled over in his car when I was biking to Fairhaven and we ended up talking for a bit. I was already late though.

It was good to see Mardi Gras was quite an event, marred by minimal violence. By my observations though, I've seen more fights in the parking lots of Grateful Dead concerts than I saw in at the Mardis Gras we've attended (and I've been to plenty of both). And we stayed on the 300 block of Bourbon Street. Not kids' stuff.

A sad Steely Dan song that we used to play just prior to our New Orleans hotel departure:

On the water down in New Orleans
My baby's the pearl of the quarter
She's a charmer like you never seen
Singing voulez vous
Where the sailor spend his hard-earned pay
Red beans and rice for a quarter
You can see her almost any day
singing voulez vous

And if you hear from my Louise
Won't you tell her I love her so
Please make it clear
When her day is done
She got a place to go

I walked alone down the miracle mile
I met my baby by the shine of the martyr
She stole my heart with her Cajun smile
Singing voulez vous
She loved the million dollar words I say
She loved the candy and the flowers that I bought her
She said she loved me and was on her way
Singing voulez vous

And if you hear from my Louise
Won't you tell her I love her so
Please make it clear
When her day is done
She got a place to go

Monday, February 4, 2008

Mardi Gras

So Wilbur (a Mardi Gras veteran) corrected me and told me that today was Lundi Gras and not yesterday when I wrote the blog. "I figured everyone would be reading the post on Lundi Gras Day."
"I must have read it when the ink was still wet," he responded in spite of the time difference.

So I write this with expectation that most normal people on the East Coast will read this on Mardi Gras Day. This picture is the flambeaux carrier, the unsung heroes. They light the way for some of the krewes (like Bards and Hermes) and are a throwback to the earlier days before electricity.

Tomorrow will be back to Life In Bellingham. The past few nights have been a walk down memory lane. But back to rain and wind and bulbs pushing through the soil. And neighbors turning the soil. And the shiny BMW waiting out back in the garage like a patient dog.

Happy Mardis Gras!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Lundi Gras

As I was writing this, I realized the Krewe of Bacchus was probably rolling down Canal Street past Royal with the throngs of drunken parade goers whose fervor at catching their beads was only trumped by the collective joie de vivre and life's little gems like Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Can a god please bless this city?

This picture is the live cam of Saint Charles Street Uptown maybe around Napoleon. And the temperature is in the high 70's tomorrow and low 80's for Fat Tuesday. Those are temperatures I will take for early February. I remember cold times with the wind whipping down Canal Street and the sideways rain. and the low fast moving clouds not unlike Bellingham. Great memories.

Hurricanes, daiquiris, Dixie beer, Blackened Voodoo, oysters, crawfish, jambalaya, etoufee, boiled crab, St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, Rebirth Brass Band, Old Man River, the Moon Walk, the St. Charles Streetcar (which I am happy to see running again), beignets, WWOZ, this list goes on and on.

Saturday, February 2, 2008


Wow, how time flies. Ten year ago what the last time we were at Mardi Gras in New Orleans. And for many years we stayed at the Royal Sonesta on Bourbon Street. And the same courtyard suite (#3216, I believe) . They were some crazy times. And fond memories. Just seeing these pictures of the Bacchagator brings a smile to my face. At some point in my life I hope to spend a period of time in this forlorn and stricken city.

Today was day of running errands and preliminary house work. I found that there is no BMW dealership in Bellingham, so I will need to find another source for parts for the R60/6. Not the end of the world, as I am becoming in touch with the local mechanics in town. It is odd though that the nearest dealership is an hour away.

Here is the rest of the parade schedule through Mardi Gras day. Laissez Les Bonne Temp Roulez!

* NOMTOC - Westbank, 10:45 a.m.
* Iris - Uptown, 11:00 a.m.
* Tucks - Uptown, 12:30 p.m.
* Endymion - Uptown, 4:30 p.m.
* Isis - Metairie, 6:00 p.m.

* Okeanos - Uptown, 11:00 a.m.
* Thoth - Uptown, 11:30 a.m.
* Mid-City - Uptown, 2:00 p.m.
* Bacchus - Uptown, 5:15 p.m.
* Napoleon - Metairie, 5:30 p.m.
* Tchefuncte - Madisonville, 10:00 a.m.

* Proteus - Uptown, 5:15 p.m.
* Orpheus - Uptown, 5:45 p.m.
* Zeus - Metairie, 6:30 p.m.

* Zulu - Uptown, 8:00 a.m.
* Rex - Uptown, 10:00 a.m.
* Elks Orleans - Uptown, 11:30 a.m.
* Crescent City - Uptown, follows Elks
* Argus - Metairie, 10:00 a.m.
* Jefferson Trucks - Metairie, follows Argus
* Elks Jefferson - Metairie, follows Jefferson
* Grela - West Bank, 11:00 a.m.
* Choctaw - West Bank, Noon
* Lions - Covington, 10:00 a.m.
* Covington - Covington, follows Lions


Too tired to type tonight. More later.