Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Here's a picture of the hills that become the Cascades. Four houses down the street looking east. A fun day of a cell phone to my ear starting with an early morning conference call I forgot I had waking me out of a dream. But the food bank is always a fun way to re-connect to Bellingham and got me out of the house.

I also repair bicycles as a service to the cyclists of Bellingham that participate in the local alternative currency: Fourth Corner Exchange. Today I had my second happy customer take her serviced bike. Two more to go in the garage. And two more in queue.

And my roommate took some wonderful pictures of the tulips just south in Skagit County - taken a few Sundays ago in the morning mist. You will probably see more of her really cool pics in the next few days.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Today a chilly, yet beautiful, partly sunny day, with the standard afternoon shower. And raindrops on the window tonight.

Here is a picture taken today on Broadway heading southwest to the sea. Or bay. Or both. In the distant is Lummi Island. Although this road has a fine bike lane on it, unfortunately it's not too useful. Most of the main arteries into town run perpendicular to this road. A great idea, but poor planning. Oddly enough though, we did take this road on the garden tour a few months back. It was sort of a zig-zag, but more conducive to group biking.

To the left are the Lettered Streets, and to the right are the (I believe) Columbia (closer) and Cornwall (further) neighborhoods.

Tonight was movie night, watching My Blue Heaven - a very funny movie I might add - on The Channel.

Monday, April 28, 2008


Oddly enough (or maybe not), people have been coming to me telling me they've done something they never imagined: they'd sold their cars. One friend came up to me and secretly pulled something out of his wallet. Here I thought it might me a membership card to the CPUSA or the John Birch Society or something even more illicit. But instead, it was a WTA bus pass. He was an old hippie friend that said "I've never done this before, man."

We are lucky to have a decent public transportation system in Bellingham, but fortunately it is also quite easy to also just bike around. I wish I needed to take the bus more, but a bike suits me fine, as my radius of existence usually doesn't span more than three or four miles. I can actually get to many points in town by bike faster than driving. I feel sorry for Bellinghamsters that don't bike, as they are missing out on a pleasurable experience in one of this nation's most bike-able cities.

I wrote this (above) today at the Public Market while working. (Fortunately,) I erased a scathing tirade that included such things as energy decline, societal collapse, greed, etc., but the day ended well. The Bings went on, the R60/6 started right up, and I've aspired to a new level of BMW competence and hold my chin a bit higher. Carb rebuild? Not a problem.

Now for these friggin' knuckles to heal...

Sunday, April 27, 2008


This is a picture that I did not take, although it reminds me of a winter sunset when the sun pokes through in the sky clears in the late afternoon

Today I wasn't cold. I do not know why. I was in the fifties and rained here and there a good chunk of the day. I was outside in shorts and a t-shirt and sandals in the drizzle and surprisingly the chill did not bother me. I do not know why. A friend said that I finally acclimated to this chilly, damp climate. And I just accepted the fact that I would only be truly warm in this moist and cold climate roughly ten days out of the year. I recall that time being some time in August. But still, it was really odd that I wasn't cold today. Hmm.

I wish I had something to say, but the bed beckons. A busy weekend: On one hand having a friend help me build a chicken coop, and on the other hand getting the Bing carburetors back on the R60/6. Tomorrow will determine the success of the mechanical endeavor, while a few more days (or weeks) will be required to measure the success of the coop.

Another dream is a southbound trip next year on the BMW down the coast. Maybe take a few weeks and ship the bike back home. "I'll always be a dreamin' man, I don't have to understand..."


A late night that involves lost keys (not mine), bagels, and some other interesting tidbits. But it is late an I've demonstrated again today that in a battle of flesh and aluminum fins on the block of an aircooled BMW motorbike, the latter will prevail. More tomorrow.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


It's late, and I am just got in a bit ago after a beautiful midnight ride from Fairhaven up along the waterfront. Waited a few feet from a southbound train wooshing past on its way to Seattle or beyond. Through the downtown area with loud college kids being college kids. On to the quite streets of Sunnyland. And home to get to bed within some reason, although tomorrow I sleep in.

But the right Bing went on with evidently little challenge.

And also a shareholders' meeting for my company to which I was officially named to a quite important role. (I think that last sentence in grammatically correct.)

Sorry no picture. Eric Clapton does that to you. Righht now I am listeninig to a CD with many cuts from the live album Just One Night. I had this album years ago and I realize how this is one the best, if not the best, white blues musicians in existence. Okay, maybe I will put a picture up...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Coop II

So the work continues on the chicken coop. Quite sturdy and it should make for a nice shelter for four hens or so. I've never envisioned myself being raising chickens, as I do not eat chicken and don't really eat a lot of eggs. I guess I will soon. Local eggs are tremendous, with rich yellow yolks. (You see, I was more a city and suburbs person.)

And considering that the price of oil doubled in the last year and increased sixfold in the last eight years, something is awry. It is always good to produce your own food and I am glad to be part of a burgeoning local trend of producing food locally her in Bellingham - even in your own back yard. Now if I could only finish the sheet mulching...

But the compost pile (background of picture) is doing miraculously well. The smell and texture is beautiful. Not to mention the overabundance of worms that now call it home.

Tonight was a fun meeting followed by a pot luck with a local group with which I work (or technically volunteer). And my house mate is en route from California with Maggie. I hope her journey is safe.

Tomorrow I hope for the Bing carburetor parts to arrive Priority Mail, and I asked a friend to teach me appropriate German curse words to use when the BMW draws blood from yet another knuckle.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Yes, winter is behind us hopefully for good. Not much to say, other then looking to get out on a boat this summer. Here is a picture Gate 8, I believe, at Squalicum Harbor. For a bit I was a yacht broker and used to ply these docks selling sail and power boats. It was short lived, and I think I was done in by a 43' steel cutter that proved both unsalable and unsailable. But working on the water was a fun time.

Tonight, working at the food bank, tomorrow more of the same. The numbers of people are increasing at the food bank, a barometer that things are not too rosy in the local economy and times are tough. But it's nice to see some familiar faces and people are generally pleasant there - both volunteers and those using this fine institution.

Although the toughest part is ahead of me with the carb rebuild, attempting this instilled a new sense of confidence in me. But again, putting the pieces back together will be the true challenge.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


So my brother tells me of these Orvis khakis for sale at Sierra Trading Post for twenty bucks that are a great deal. "I'm tight on cash and don't really need khakis at this point in the year," I tell him.

So a few hours later I'm on the phone with a BMW parts supplier out of Lithopolis, Ohio ordering a rebuild kit for my Bing carbs to the tune of a hundred bucks. So that demonstrates two things: first, that I'm really not that tight on cash - my priorities are just misaligned; and second, that a motorbike of this ilk is not necessarily cheaper than my VW.

But here is a picture of a disassembled Bing 36mm carburetor from a 1975 r60/6. I hope my written notes are clear enough to get this bad boy back to breathing. More sure to follow... But tonight listening to a Portland Meadows, May 29, 1995 show trying to get some work done in the office.


So today I did something stupid. I removed the right hand Bing carburetor from my R60/6. It was leaking quite a bit of gasoline and I needed to tackle it eventually. Another trip to the garage that turned into a two hour ordeal. I need to replace the float bowl gasket, and (I think it's called) the float needle.

But it really wasn't as hard as I thought it might be. But I should not speak too prematurely lest the Boxer gods unleash upon me their wrath in an effort to smite my ego. But we shall see.

A beautiful drive down to Whidbey Island to work all day overlooking the water and incoming tide. Except for Oak Harbor (Generica). A pretty good day. Geeze, it's late.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Home & Garden

Today was a day of finding that I need some significant work done under the house. But fortunately a friend will give me a hand doing it and seems to be pretty good at doing this. So a Sunday turned into doing all sorts of activities in and out and about.

Tomorrow I need to hire a car for a day trip down south. Fortunately there is an Enterprise a few blocks away.

I like renting a car for the day to make me realize how I do not miss driving. But fortunately this trip will be out to Whidbey Island and generally pretty.

A good weekend with its share of relaxing and business.

But tonight I will have a bit more ice cream - the anti-cleanse. Oh, and the floats on my Bing carburetors look nothing as bad as the ones in the picture from yesterday's post.


So today a friend came over (that knows much more about carpentry than I ever will) to help begin the early stages of a chicken coop, and assess the viability of keeping chickens. It should work and in a few weeks I should have fresh eggs from the backyard.

There is a rather large movement (or so it seems that way since I am tapped into it) of people working on producing food in there yards. And not regular gardens, but more permaculture type gardens. It is neat to see this happening, and Bellingham is a perfect place to build momentum for this with its ample precipitation and temperate climate. Although it did snow today, but was warm enough that I broke quite a sweat riding down to Happy Valley tonight.

But to change the subject totally, to the right is a picture of carburetors (this isn't mine although it is similar) that I will attempt to clean and figure out why it is leaking. I am pushing the scope of my mechanical ability with this project, although I need a confidence builder and learn to conduct basic (basic?) maintenance on this bike if I ever will want to ride it any distance with confidence.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Well it really isn't as cold as everyone made it out to be. But snow is forecast for the weekend. Probably more in the county versus city. But I rode to a friends place and back home around midnight and as usual, I overdressed and was quite warm.

Not a whole lot happens here. So the cold weather made the front page of the Bellingham Herald. The occasional siren, the more frequent train whistle, and some time when the wind is right, you can hear the ferry whistle as it departs for Alaska up the Inside Passage Fridays at six o'clock in the evening.

Next summer I hope to take the ferry up to some place like Sitka. The ferry supposedly is a much more down-to-earth way to see Alaska. And you can sleep out on deck if you'd like. Or get a cabin. Geeze, after looking at the site (the link above) it is going to be warmer in Alaska than Bellingham.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Days like today that I ride around town on my bike and all these thoughts waft through my mind like the gulls above about what I would like to write about in this evening web log. But when I sit down at night to write my mind draws a blank. But one of the best rides of the week are on the way home from a breakfast meeting through Cornwall Park early in the morning just as the sun is rising and the morning mist still enshrouds to towering firs, hemlocks and cedars. This is a picture of the magical mystical park nestled in the City of Bellingham.

But tonight my mind is scattered after a long week, and still a bit more work to do. I look forward to the weekend. Although it too is filled, it will be fun stuff. And I made plans tonight to go back east during June (or Junuary, as I've heard it called here). But weather will still be tolerable on the East Coast. I am sure it will be some business too.


So this is the back part of the yard where I laid the cardboard last night. I still need to add a few more layers, and then the wood chips. Finding free woodchips (preferably alder, but not Cedar or Walnut shouldn't bee too challenging. I need to call some local tree services and slip someone a twenty. Hopefully that will suffice. If not, there is an equally inexpensive Plan B or Plan C even for acquiring cheap chips. I am sure you will see more pictures as things progress.

But right now it is off to bed. It will be an early morning meeting followed by a long day.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Dumpster Dive

So today I went to the bike shop to ask if I could have their cardboard boxes. The mechanic motioned to the dumpster around back and said "take all the cardboard you want." So I made a few trips to the bike shop over the past few days to carry (using my cruiser) loads of cardboard. So climbing about a cardboard-filled dumpster might constitute dumpster diving.

What for? It is to sheet mulch a section of yard so I can plant things like blueberries or other edible plants and reduce my yard size by about an eighth. I've been told that this is the way to suppress weeds and hasten the generation of topsoil - basically doing in a year or two what naturally takes fifty or a hundred. To this I will add wood chips. This combination will add nutrients to the soil and hold moisture, among other things. I did not cut the weeds down underneath, so I hope this will not cause a problem. We shall see.

Oh, and the picture to the right is of the courthouse in Faulkner's fictitious Yoknapatawpha County taken from the veranda of a coffee shop. I traveled there back in 2001 to read Flags in the Dust and drink strong coffee and smoke filterless Camels. Incidentally, I am fascinated by Faulkner. I do not know why I posted these pictures tonight. Time to start carrying my camera again.


Here is one more picture of the graffiti wall near my home. To the right is the high school football and soccer and baseball field.

So tonight I met with a bunch of fellow BMW motorbike owners that also own aircooled BMW's, or airheads. It was at held at Archer's Ale House, and this evidently was a good crowd this evening of twenty or so beemer owners. I firmly love the design of this classic motorbike and it was good to meet some new people with similar interests. I do not really get out do "guy" things like watch sports or shoot pool or play poker, so this was an interesting evening. And of course, there exists a new level of appreciation for my R60/6, as well as seeing a bunch of vintage BMW motorbikes outside this restaurant. I look forward to the future summer rides with this group.

And speaking of bikes, the local bike shop was a total score with all the cardboard I might ever want. I made two trips today and will probably need two or three more to start sheet mulching a portion of the yard. Not to score some free wood chips.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Bees and Sharks

Tonight was a night watching the movie Sharkwater, but the DVD player was set to full screen, so we watched the version called Harkwate.

Geeze, from any environment scientific perspective, virtually all ecosystems are screwed on this planet. I read yesterday how the honey bees are being wiped out by an unknown pathogen. A beekeeper referenced in this article said he lost 80% of his hives.

I though Einstein said that humans can survive for only four years on the planet without the honey bee. Or maybe he didn't.

I did a tiny bit of gardening to begin the permaculture plot in the back yard. Maybe a 5mx6m plot (15'x20'). It is going to take quite a bit of cardboard, and I hope to gather most of it from the various businesses (like bike shops and appliance centers) located close by. And a friend offered his bike trailer, so that will be a big help. Some time soon I will have pictures, but I have made so little progress so far.

The picture was Saturday's sun. Today was cloudy. Again.


This picture is taken a few houses down the street towards town. A fund day full of sun and tons of people out - many on bikes. Today I spent a chunk of the day working on bikes - both near home and at the Farmer's Market (there is a booth there that offers free repairs on bikes where I spent some time today). These are the days that make you forget about the drear experienced since last November. Or that yet to be experienced until late June.

But it is late and upon arriving home I stopped over to see my neighbors and that ended up being an enlivening conversation. But now it is time for sleep. Today would've been a perfect day to ride the BMW. Or road bike. Here is a link to a You Tube that is the same generation bike as mine. Or another one.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


With spring on the run, I thought it might fun to get out of the house without spending a lot of money. So I offered to help a friend and moonlight at his store a few hours a week. Tonight was one such night. And it was a blast. To go hang out and do a carefree job isn't really a job after all, is it? And to see all sorts of people that come into this beer and wine and food store - many are WWU students, while many are not - is invigorating. And to learn the ways of the young hipsters in a hip college town in the Pacific Northwest is alright by me. And I think that I can still use words like dude and man with flair.

Some people might be shocked by me doing this; those that know me wouldn't be too surprised. But taking a few hours of down time to listen to loud reggae music while purveying wares to the Bellingham public is a noble service and a worthy use of my time. And the wine selection is good, and the beer is reasonably priced and diverse. And I can look out the window at the Cascades too.

But it is late and I am worn out. No picture tonight. Sorry.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Here is a cool symbol of the Lummi Nation, a local tribe right up the road from Bellingham. There was a huge celebration last year for the
Paddle to Lummi where tribes paddled from all over the Pacific Northwest. Unfortunately I missed it, although the pictures I saw were fascinating and rich.

But today I ventured to the Bellingham Grocery Outlet (or BGO), another wonderful place to get cheap groceries - all with exciting finds. Stepping into this store exposed me to another whole dimension of Bellingham, and it was an experience. This is one of many cheap grocers within five blocks: Sunshine Liquidators, Trader Joes, Youngstock's Produce, Bargainica, and that one two blocks away that I cannot remember the name of, although I've only been there once because it's mostly large restaurant quantities and and sizes

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


A day of being out 'til ten and ending up having to ride home in the rain. Imagine that. Not much time to talk, as it is midnight and tomorrow is the ungodly awakening time of 6:15a.m. Not too early for some, but at least the sun has risen. And besides, I am exhausted.

This picture is taken from one of the homes we toured. My housemate took it and it is a greywater recovery system. Time to sleep.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


...speaking of the fat man, there is a Vipassana sitting that I used to go to on Tuesdays at the dharma hall. Actually they've moved to a new hall that I've yet to attend. I once told a friend that I don't have time to meditate. She said "exactly."

But the week should mellow out. Very exciting things are happening at work and in the community. And although the weather this morning totally sucked, the evening was beautiful. I went outside briefly and saw the two stars of Gemini peeking through a hole in the clouds. In spite of the cold, the signs of spring are evident and there seems to be an energy about.

Back to finish up some work. Tomorrow afternoon is a time to relax. Or so I think.

I have grown much in Bellingham and that is invigorating. And the dog needs a bath.

Monday, April 7, 2008


Well first off, the cleanse ended somewhat prematurely with peanut butter cups on Saturday night, although I did go roughly four days on the cleanse and one on the fast. I will try it for a longer time when there is not so much going on in my life with work and other things. A cleanse requires a clear mind and the ability for a body to be able to accommodate the stress it will be put through. External stresses (in my opinion) can exacerbate things, although it did open my eyes to the the subconscious act of ingesting food.

But today I was meeting with a business associate and her friend (who later joined us) is actually from Clarks Summit, the little town I grew up in way up in Northeastern PA north of Scranton. Although I did not know her, I knew her cousin, who played snare drum alongside of me for one season. Small world.

Although I dearly miss the place where I grew up, I do not think I'll be moving back anytime soon.

Sunday, April 6, 2008


Here is a picture taken a few weeks back on the way to the sailboat - somewhere near the Lummi Nation. The Lummi are rich in culture and heritage, yet unfortunately, like many indigenous cultures, have not adopted the lifestyle of those that have supplanted them in the name of 'progress'.

I am reading an interesting book by Jerry Mander called "In the Absence of the Sacred" that questions the true benefit of all the technological advancements in our society. I personally have returned to the life of no automobile and a rotary phone, no microwave or dishwasher, limited television (with one channel), a bicycle (with one speed), and numerous other simplifications of life. I am glad that I can live a life outside of the grasp of 42" LCD televisions with one hundred channels, leased SUV's, etc.

But good movies are a necessity. And tonight, we went to see "Be Kind Rewind" at the local thater. After spending the whole day inside working and on calls (yes, it is Sunday), it was nice to get out in the drizzle to the cozy Pickford and laugh at a silly and fresh movie with some emotional undertones.

Saturday, April 5, 2008


Today was the first day of the farmer's market, so a friend and I went down and putzed around for the morning. And this meant running into many people that were also out on this pretty nice day. I know some people that work there and there were an abundance of people on bikes.

Not much more. The fast is now a cleanse and teetering, at that. There will be a busy few days ahead of me. So rest soon.

This picture to the right if of the bike path into town, crossing Whatcom Creek about two blocks from home. Gotta run.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Type II

It is always nice to wake up to see one of these in front of your house. Friends of my neighbor drive this vintage c.1966 Volkswagen Type II. At one time I owned a 1967 that was in very similar shape. Why I relinquished ownership is quite a lengthy and sad, yet entertaining story.

Day three of the cleanse that has evolved into a fast. Not much to add here. Water with lemon is tomorrow's diet. And Sunday's.

Today was a day of work followed by a twenty mile or so jaunt on the R60/6 motorbike. I also met a friend this afternoon for tea that from Texas. I have been meeting a lot of people lately from Texas. (And Missouri.) I asked my roommate (also from Texas) why is this so, and she said that all the smart people leave Texas. I wonder what this says about our president who moved there.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Writing on The Wall

This is The Wall behind the Bellingham High School along the bike path into town. It's where the high school kids hang out and skate or smoke. Or both.

Looking at this graffiti is pretty neat. This one wall, as you can see, has been painted over and over again. But still the writing returns. This is a bright wall on which to see the different forms of painted expression. And fortunately graffiti is not too prevalent in Bellingham. An occasional scribble here or there. I am glad it is limited primarily to this wall.

Day two of the fast. Nothing has really changed. Raw fruits and veggies. Oops, and one cup of black coffee. It's amazing how good raw veggies and spices can taste with things like lemon juice and pepper and salt substitute (although I do normally eat plenty of sea salt). And to sample the many herbal teas of Bellingham. Yummy.

And tonight I switched from jazz to the local college station: KUGS. A cool change.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Here is a picture of the Whatcom Museum of Art and History taken a few days back. A chilly, yet beautiful day. Like today. And tomorrow, so I am told. I should really get to this museum some time. I love museums. And it is right down the road, and probably pretty cheap.

Today I began a fast of liquids and raw fruits and vegetables. I might try to continue this for ten days, but only one day into it and I am dreadfully missing things like chocolate and coffee. But it really shouldn't be as hard as I thought, as things like salads and freshly made juices are quite refreshing. Maybe I will go to strictly water for a few days.

But it is April and this seemed like an interesting time to get some toxins out of my body and shed a few pounds. It seems I've run across many people doing a cleanse recently - four that I personally know. I am sure you will here more about this over the next few days. I think it is more psychological than physical. But I do like food. But I guess health is important too.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Here is a picture in front of my place looking down the street to the school, some businesses, and the Cascade foothills. I don't know what they're technically called, but foothills sound neat.

Today was a nice day I am quite surprised and amazed at the numbers of bikes that I see on the streets of Bellingham. It seems more than prior years, although this is only my second full spring in Bellingham. But my neighbor said he's seen many, many more in recent years. And they've lived across the street for forty years.

After becoming an daily bike commuter, driving a car around town seems more and more ridiculous. Why would I subject myself to such self-induced angst and isolation? And the price of gas is how much? Good thing we have an oilman in the White House, but I digress.

The days of driving cross country on a hundred bucks in gas, a few cases of beer and a carton of Marlboro Reds are behind us forever.