Tuesday, December 28, 2010


It is wonderful to have warm friends in the chilly moist winter here in Bellingham when your nearest family member is a couple thousand miles away. But Christmas day was spent with the dog reading a Faulkner novel. Holy days of rest and are wondrous, although the rest of the evenings were filled with parties, camaraderie...and rest - something I woefully lack during most holidays, or life in Bellingham in general.

Not much more excitement. Other than jacking up on Vitamin D and realizing how much that can impact me, just another day in Bellingham. Glad to turn off the computer at five or six, come home, and enjoy the free time that the office job affords. So consequently, I'll probably be writing less and less and enjoying my free time more and more. I am fortunately right where I need to be in my life in Bellingham.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


So my eyes stayed glued to a computer screen most of the day. When I get home at night, I try to do other things, such as read, sew, play guitar, cook, or many other things. Tonight, we went to see a movie at the Pickford. I've been building a pile of free passes from volunteering there, so tonight we saw 127 Hours and then to Mallards to use a gift certificate. It's nice to spend $3.25 for a night on the town.

Although I finally have a reugular job and hours, I still have retained my frugal ways developed over my economically challenged days. Last night I did buy an Edith Piaf CD at the music store. And saw a friend working there that I met a few weeks earlier. It's amazing to see the dynamic people of Bellingham just doing their jobs and loving life. It's rare I hear anyone complain about Bellingham, and few inhabitants want to "get out," unlike all other cities or towns in which I've lived. Every place had had its element of people yearning for greener pastures.

But not Bellingham. (Well other than the weather that can deteriorate your demeanor and drive you stone mad) smiles abound.

The picture above is from my bike commute to wok. Fortunately, it's only five minutes or so, and one stop light. This is the route past city hall and the library.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


One of my housemates back in the spring turned out to be a great friend also. Unfortunately, Pete is moving back east after his (and his wife's) efforts to earn a sustainable living in Bellingham proved futile. And this is too bad, as he is a great guy and had many, many stories to tell, including his living off the grid in Alaska and through hiking both the Continental Divide Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. Bellingham seems to attract the nicest and most interesting people. You'll probaly never see this post, Pete, but I wish you Godspeed on your life's journey. You are a good man.

Oh well, off to a Christmas party tonight. Sort of. It's been going on for years and this is my third time atending. Fun, fun, fun.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Yes, the job has over the past week or two evolved from a "Holy crap, I'm stupid and I'll never learn anything" to "wow, it's all coming together and I really can add some value to this organization." Afer hearing the horror stories in the media, and living in a town where decent paying jobs are more scarce than sunshine, I am indeed a lucky person. And the CPA Exam that I arduously studied for years ago (and passed) many someday evolve into a valid license in this state.

I haven't been writing, as my evenings are spent doing other things like reading, playing music, and generally things that I find more appealing than the tie suckage of a computer. But tonight I need to get some pivot tables done, and that means sitting at the Public Market eating a piece of pizza being content.

The picture above is one I came across of an abandoned gas station we wanted to turn into a biodiesel facility. All indications were a "go," but to deal with getting this property rezoned to a retail facility from a residential mixed-use, even though it always was a gas station. I don't understand why the City of Bellingham so diligently discourages conducting business in their city. Personally, I like the abandoned buildings lining Cornwall Avenue anyway with derelict VWs parked in front. (There's another run-down property a block up the street with a '69 Beetle in front.) At any rate, we walked away from the deal for this year, as the permitting process in this town and county makes you want to consider a place like Anacortes.

And back to my personal situation, I am quite content to be back in the stable office world. As much as I lambasted the lifestyle in my past, a regular paycheck, benefits and not working horrible hours is quite welcome too, which is why I really haven't had much desire to be on this computer any more than I need to when in the sanctity of my peaceful home.

Back to the spreadsheet.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


It turned out to be a wonderful Thanksgiving, with friends coming over and plenty of food to be had. And this year I embraced the notion of being thankful for the many things and people that I have in my life. It has been a tumultuous year regarding my livlihood, but I think good things lie ahead.

And the weekend was spent reading fiction - something that I find to be an indication that I am relaxed and can truly enjoy my down time.

Another interesting thing I began was reteaching myself how to sew. Just the sound of hearing a sewing machine I find to be very soothing and remenicent of simpler times when my mother would be sewing and mending while I conducted my youthful activities void of deadlines and stress.

At any rate, a good weekend of doing nothing. I was tempted to write earlier, but I find the time suckage spent in front of computer is pervasive when my weekend's free time is increasingly more valuable. But today, I needed to commit to getting caught up on work and installing software, so many of my daylight hours will be spent in front of this screen listening to WWOZ. At least I have a wonderful dog keeping me company, who unfortunately is feeling a bit under the weather with a stomach flu. Poor little pooch.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


On Friday it snowed. And when you live in a city with few, if any, plows, it turns into a challenge when the recurring freeze thaw cycle makes for treacherous conditions. And a few days each year, the temperature dips into the twenties or teens - this seems to be one such time. So today the storm windows went up, as well as the heat tape plugged in and those little pieces of wood that cover the crawl space under the house.

This picture was taken by a friend that lives up near the arboretum and has a great view of Bellingham, the bay, and the Canadian Coast Range in the background. I don't know why thirty degrees seems so much more cold here than ten or zero degrees back east. Maybe the perpetual dampness in the air has something to do with it - even on days like today when the wind kicks down from the north versus off the water.

It is days like this that I am grateful I have a warm home and a dry bed.

Wednesday we will probably see a melting and life returning to normal. I will take forty and drizzle any day over this. Brrr.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


The weirdest thing happened yesterday:
I went out to leave for work - opening the garage and feeding the chickens before I board my bike for the arduous five minute commute to work. When I opened the door, mice were in the chicken feed container and I caught them off guard. Two fell to the bottom of the bucket as I picked the bag of feed up and stranded them there so they could just maybe think about their actions. Two were nimble and spry.

The third (I'll call it The American) had so engorged himself on chicken feed that he could barely move across the bottom of the bucket. He looked like Augustus Gloop.

So I went to work, left the three of them there, and upon my return home found the spry one standing his fat, dead partner in crime - the little one reaching for the sky. I let the two go and threw the third gluttonous one in the brush pile. Life is fragile.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tweed Ride

Sunday was a fabulous bike ride around Bellingham dressed in British attire, riding old classic cruisers. Here is a picture taken at the gazebo in Elizabeth Park in the Columbia neighborhood. This was last Sunday, and a hundred or so cyclists so up at one point or another. I look forward to the next Tweed Ride.

But right now I need to get to bed, after I finish a business plan for someone far away in a warmer climate as I sit here sniffling decompressing from by semi-annual sojourn to the Bellis Fair Mall to realize why I come up there as little as possible (especially Roth, or Ross?, which was like a war zone - a Canadian free-for-all orgy of commerce).

Okay, since I am writing little, I will post two pictures.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


I think I get sick more than normal in this climate. Or maybe people are getting sicker due to the over-prescription of all the drugs in the world, or the innumerable other reasons. And biking in the rain doesn't really help too much either.

But Bellinghamsters just seem to be sick, and the sniffles through the winter is normal. This latest spell (I was told, as well as am experiencing) lasts about two weeks. Biking home sniffling in the rain I am so grateful that I have a home to come to that is warm and dry with a happy dog awaiting my return. I also empathize with those experience terminal illness that will never get better, versus my temporary discomfort.

And the notion of a health care plan is so foreign to me that I have not yet been able to fully grasp its enormity. I have worked as a consultant for many years, and your health care provider was usually the internet, as a $5,000 deductible was a bit foreboding, and seeing a doctor for things like the flu was deemed silly and not a consideration.

So being a creature of habit, I sit here with zinc tablets, some tea made with dried lemon balm (from the garden), turmeric, ginger (plenty of it) and fennel. I have a disdain and distrust for western medicine, so until I can find a naturopathic doctor I will be treating myself. Fortunately, the worst is behind me.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


When you (and all your friends) don't watch television, you have a tendency to spend your nights doing other things. So I end up in odd and eclectic places.

Tonight I went to a a house high up on Garden Street and sat around a table writing poems. You pick a subject out of a hat, and begin by writing a few line, and then pass it on to the next person.

The following was what was written, based upon these two subjects written on scraps of paper:
1) The Spartans traded rods of metal and used no real form of currency, and
2) The start of the agricultural culture.

And here's what came of it:
The abundance of wheat and grain,
The Fertile Crescent
Across the sea.
Willing to trade metal rods like the moon exchanges light with the sea,
Mohawk shadows marching towards villages with groves of olive trees fringing the corridor of traveled passageways.
Do the roots grow deep enough to rabble
the skeletons from their rooked graves?

What am I saying?
Roots depend entirely on what grows, above and seeps down...which I cannot begin to quantify.
Well, I can begin.
And time too soon. We're passing through cycles, like orbits. Is all that we're troubled by today are different than the experiencing of pirates and...who were the others? Other pirates?

Pirates traded spice, slave salve of the coconut palm.
There were ships, were floating farms
Spread from the soil to the foam
Bulging pillaged land floating at sea.

And the seeping grain is a hole in the plastic sack.

A fun night.

Monday, November 8, 2010


Yesterday's gardening entailed transplanting some Jerusalem Artichokes -not really artichokes, and not from Jerusalem either; they are native here in North America. So I transplanted a bunch of them, giave two of my neighbors a clump each, and still had a huge bag to put in the 'fridge.

So for breakfast (my housemate had hers with eggs from our chickens) and dinner we had Jerusalem Artichokes. I consider these to be my sustenance if "the sh*t hits the fan" as all these post-carbon people claim, or some other form of societal collapse - I am not really of the peak oil school.

Some consider this plant a weed, I consider it something I look forward to cooking for Thanksgiving. (There is a second patch near the fence.) Why we consider something edible, healthy and pretty tasty that grows prolific in this country a weed, when we engorge ourselves with all the synthesized agribusiness crap that.... oh never mind - I had a good day.

But tonight I baked them in oil and sprinkled them with dill on one half, and rosemary on the other. Yummy.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Tyrannus melancholicus

Today was the second day that I saw a group of people with expensive field glasses and field guides on the bridge over Whatcom Creek by the bike path. They were obviously birders. Last week I was looking at the same bird they saw and thought it was a Yellow Breasted Chat. I found out today that I was woefully mistaken.

It was actually a Tropical Kingbird, a species way off course from its normal wintering grounds of New Mexico and Arizona. Odd indeed. So I hung out for a bit and watched its antics and talked with some fellow birders and then headed home to a productive day of gardening and doing house things. I do need to get out more, hence my trip down to the coffee shop this evening to play on my computer and add a few items to a business plan.

A warm sunny day, a great night and a good life in the City of Subdued Excitement.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Coffee Shops

OK, so I couldn't stay away long from writing. I left work and came to the coffee shop for tea and relaxation. Now that I am working a desk job, and can concentrate at for eight hours a day, I no longer need to dawdle on the computer for hours on end to meet endless deadlines of uncertainties. There is something to be said about for the regimented mindset and vision in a more structured environment. It is not an unwelcome notion to reacclimate to the organizaed structure of an office environment, getting up at 6:50am, and doing the same routine day after day.

Although the picture above is blurry, it evoked the sensation of boarding th ferries in the dusk and its beauty. I will always romanticize about riding the ferries back from the islands or peninsula in the fall twilight. My friend took the picture and I took it off her Facebook page. Thanks Donna!!

Time to go home and finally - for one of the first times I've lived in Bellingham - relax.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


I have grown weary of writing and do not know that the frequency of my posts here will equal what I've produced in the past. I am working an 8-5 job right now, which is a pleasant change to the chaos and irregularities of working a a consultant. Freedom of consulting comes at a very high price.

So when I get home from the office, I once again cherish the freedoms of simple things like reading, walking the dog, playing guitar, writing, visiting friends (like I spent today doing) or anything except more work on a computer. So maybe I will again pick up the proverbial pencil once my schedule becomes more regimented and I grow into this cycle of regularity. Right now, I enjoy the comfort of an anticipated regular paycheck, a higher stature of professionalism, and health care with a $25 co-pay versus a $5,000 deductible (I am lucky - most freelancers have no health care coverage, at least in the U.S.) I breath a sigh of relief.

A late night at the Wild Buffalo last night (well until the drunken fools were unleashed on the streets after the bars closed - alcohol makes people really ugly, which is why I am glad my drinking days are long behind me), a great day with a morning of attending the BUF, and a day on Chuckanut Bay with a wonderful friend. Time to read and shortly sleep thereafter.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Here's another picture coming across US2 on our way back fro Cle Elum a few weeks back. Such a beautiful journey over the Cascades, and much has happened in the short while since my trip back. Most importantly, I think that I may take a steady full-time job and cast my freedom to the wind. Back to the comfort of an office, benefits and a regular paycheck. Although I had the opportunity of working with some wonderful people in my consulting days, I also had the misfortune of working with my share of shady characters - more times than not.

So yes, I am burned out. And extremely refreshed (and grateful) to get back into a normal regimen of working with a local company employing my skills and being compensated for a fair wage. It also means getting up with - or actually before - the chickens and starting my day with a refreshing thirteen minute walk to the office downtown.

and some god friends from Cincinnati are moving out to Yakima, so there may be a trip or two out there in the next year. But now it's now ten o'clock and time to get ready for sleep.

Friday, October 22, 2010


Today was a day of winding down a few items in my life. I do not know what I did, but it did involve buying a pumpkin, visiting friends, moving furniture, cooking, visiting the myriad grocers in Bellingham. Although I only shop there occasionally, my favorite produce stand is Youngstocks just a stones throw away from my house. Unfortunately, it closes in a few weeks. I remember buying a full week's worth of produce there for under fifteem bucks. Cross the street to Trader Joe's and you are inundated with excessively packaged food that seems much less fresh.

But for what it's worth, Trader Joes does give a lot to the food bank. At least on the produce side. And come to think of it, on the canned and other packaged stuff too.

That's about it tonight. Running over to see a friend on the Lettered Streets.

I wish I had more to say, but my thoughts are limited.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


"In the field opportunity, it's plowing time again."
-Neil Young

I have been working as a freelance consultant for a long time. I have worked with stellar companies that have been models of how businesses in my idyllic world view should function; and I have worked with nont-so-stellar clients.

Some days, in the midst of a quasi-meltdown, I peruse the job listings online ans occasionally submit a resume. Not really because I like the job prospect, but because I dislike the the increasing frustration of consulting. This week was different - in the midst of my mental strife, I was reading the listings and I swear at the bottom of the page it said "This job is specifically for you, Jeff." And the fact that the company is local (yay!) and located in town (a ten minute walk) versus some generic office park in the outskirts of town is also quite palatable. I submitted my resume and today I interview.

So I hope the rota fortunae turns favorably and that an opportunity in line with my evolving career path can truly put me exactly where I want and need to be - in Bellingham, Washington.

A chilly morning here in Bellingham with the sun still present and winter on the run.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Price

Here is a picture taken last week coming across State Route 20 - a beautiful drive that brought me back to the rigors of making a living in Bellingham. As fabulous as Bellingham is as a place to live, making a living in this town - especially as a consultant - with a tenuous economic base is a constant challenge.

Sometimes I view the home ownership route as a burden and I daydream sometimes about what my Plan B would be if I didn't have the weight and responsibility of a home. (Memories come back of days renting in Lake Tahoe spent mountain biking and skiing while my landlord schlepped lumber up and down the hundred steps in his constant upkeep of the property.) But home or no home, I hope to hang my hat here in town for a while in hopes that one of my business efforts comes to fruition and maybe I can afford to settle into a comfortable Bellingham lifestyle. Although this quality of life is second to none, it does not come without a price.

But for now, it's back to the salt mines.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Ya know, I realize I should vote. But this year the one candidate I wanted to vote for, Craig Mayberry, was in a prior election that evidently I missed. Oops. I would love to see a second party on the ballot, versus the Democrat/Republican, business-as-usual blather.

First, I hear the parties talk about change. Don't we see change every 4-8 years from one party to the other, while our country continues its alacritous decline? Our social fabric continues to deteriorate, the wealth distribution continues to concentrate in the wealthiest Americans, and no one really seems to address these pertinent issues. Or do the politicians even care? And we - the jackass Americans - are too shortsoghted to remember who we voted out of office just a few years ago in utter contempt and disgust, only to vote them back in again? We as a country deserve exactly what we get.

My vote was to toss the ballot into the recycle bin.

But I really didn't mean to go off on a rant about our derelict political system. It was a beautiful day hike we took up to Blanchard Mountain, replete with phone calls to the home front. As tumultuous and uncertain my future can feel at certain times regarding my business endeavors, I am fortunate that I have family members that can nurture me and keep my sane. And for that I am grateful.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Red Elk

This week we drove out to see Red Elk, Medicine Man out in Cle Elum. When you are in the presence of a very powerful individual, you can sometimes feel intimidated. But Red Elk quickly made one feel at home and opened up his cozy little "gnome domes" as accommodations. The air grew quite chilly at night, although the abundance of stars made for a beautiful evening of learning about Red Elk and his ways.

I also became closer with some of the wonderful traveling partners whose paths I've been fortunate to cross in this hectic world that help me to slow down and understand the day-to-day appreciation I have in this worldly journey versus reaching any destination. I am blessed to live this dynamic life and look forward to many more days filled with meeting exciting people like Red Elk.

There was much filming going on too, so I am sure you will see some links in the near future of the work that was done. But not by me. I just sat and listened and tacitly honored Red Elk and gleaned the wisdom he offered. Although I cannot say so with certainty right now, I will look back upon this visit as being a significant milestone on my life's path.

Monday, October 11, 2010


I think I am getting older. I feel like Bilbo Baggins sometimes where I like my little hamlet here in Bellingham. I like my laid back life of my daily routine, which is somewhat regimented and although filled with beauty, not really the most exciting life.

But sometimes I get caught up in these crazy experiences that take me to interesting places in the Pacific Northwest and I am sure that more are to follow. Som e of my past antics include offshore cruising, salmon fishing on a 40-foot gillnetter, hiking and camping the Cascades, and cycling and motorbiking around the wonderful beauty of the mountains and sea.

But today I sit here trying to get the week going. Working on a few projects that will probably carry me into the evening.

Tomorrow I drive to Cle Elum to visit a friend of a friend who is a medicine man. I think being in his presence will be remarkable and I hope that I can garner some insight and wisdom from him. The picture above is from his web log and I think it may be where I am sleeping the next few nights when I visit. Now to figure out the logistics of getting there...

Friday, October 8, 2010


Western Washington University student Sara Allen marches with fellow students through campus after a rally to protest school budget cuts Oct. 7, 2010. The WWU board of trustees will be voting on budget cuts Friday. Philip A. Dwyer | The Bellingham Herald

Some days I think of what I will write. Other days, random thoughts pop into my head. Today's topic was the latter, although I've contemplated it for quite some time.

It involves higher education, and how the present model in this country is entirely unsustainable. Consider it another victim of easy credit. For years, lax lending, subsidized and guaranteed by our government (not entirely a bad thing), has contributed to a bubble - by any measurement or definition - of our higher education system. And for many years, colleges have enjoyed a robust capitalization that allows them to build gymnasiums, add headcount, and many other things that will soon fall by the wayside.

From a recent article: A Money magazine report notes: "After adjusting for financial aid, the amount families pay for college has skyrocketed 439 percent since 1982. ... Normal supply and demand can't begin to explain cost increases of this magnitude."

Once a highly lucrative industry, its gravy train days are over. Its model is overpriced relative to what the market can bear, especially after increased privatization of the student loan industry in which lenders have tightened credit while increasing the cost of capital.

Hundreds of schools (like our beloved Western) will see significant downsizings as demographics and other market conditions warrant a significant decrease in the number of colleges. Just another rosy economic catastrophe looming on the horizon. These poor kids' march is unfortunately futile and a bellwether of what's to come.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


It is interesting how there are two types of information out there. The first is the government and main stream media, while the second it the alternative press (to other 90% of content out there).

One shocking item that I have been following is the imminent collapse of the Commercial Real Estate (CRE) market. Maybe not imminent, but over the course of the next two or three years we will see the disentanglement of the CRE debt coming due, similar to the housing market. Meanwhile, the MSM (the mouthpiece of Corporate America) indicates that the CRE market has bottomed out and better days lie ahead. What garbage.

Doesn't the MSM have some obligation to present fairly and accurately what is going on in this country? Or is the Average American just too stupid to learn anything more than is spoon fed to them through the television? Unfortunately, the latter is the case.

I wonder if you and I - the taxpayer - will again be forced to subsidize the elite top 5% of wage earners in this country, while the rest of our socioeconomic foundation continues to crumble? Or the rest of the banking staff, for that matter, gets paid paltry wages?

Maybe I need to watch more CNN or FOX, where things seem a lot rosier. Unfortunately, I do not have access to these channels. And the thing that I find interesting in Bellingham is that none of my contemporaries watch television either or have cable. Maybe that's why my evenings instead are spent drinking tea and engaging in conversation, versus sedentarily staring at a box spewing bile.

Oops, sorry about the rant. Indeed it is a good day; one of the books that I reserved (akin to my above tirade) is on hold over at the library. Yves Smith write this blog, which I've set as my home page. Interesting read, I'd expect.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Sometimes life throws some interesting curves at you. My story involves an act of spontaneity in offering a friend of a friend to stay here who is on holiday from Switzerland. I am glad the guest room gets used in our tiny 1,000sf house. Next week involves a trip down to Cle Elum to visit a medicine man. What a wonderfully fulfilling life full of interesting people and interesting stories.

I am sure that you will hear more.

The picture above was from the sailboat I helped move last weekend. Actually, I did very little but tell stories and meet some cool fellow Bellinghamsters. If my rota fortuna spins favorably, there may too be more adventures aboard this little O'Day 19 next year.

Time to fend off a cold. Every seems to be sick. {sniffle}

Monday, October 4, 2010


An interesting story caught my eye in this morning's New York Times. It discusses how large corporations take advantage of the Federal Reserve's ridiculously low rates to borrow money and then sit out in, instead of using it to grow business. This is not big surprise, as large businesses have over the past decades been trimming payrolls and streamlining operations in the name of "productivity."

Meanwhile, these perks (ie, low interest rates) are virtually unavailable to the small business owner (these are the ones creating jobs) as the lending climate (here in Bellingham at least, and I am sure I speak for this whole nation) is dead for the small business. This is a classic case of crony capitalism (the corporations, who control the policy making of the government, dictate the playing field to their benefit.)

I read how the number of jobs shed by the companies representing the S&P500 (approximately 19m by this article's assessment) were barely outpaced by the jobs created by small business (roughly 20m). I read these statistics back in 2008, so I am sure that things have only bode worse for the small- to mid-sized business. As the sole party in this country (the democrat and republican parties are indistinguishable from one another) continues to eschew the needs of this country's economic base, things looks grim.

But on a brighter note here from the city of subdued excitement, a long weekend of fun on water-related activities. Moving a sailboat on Saturday (yeah, it was trailered, but still fun hanging out on the docks in the boatyards) and then kayaking on Sunday down in Chuckanut Bay over to Dot Island for a picnic lunch. Yeah, this country may be going to hell in a hand basket, but I am forever grateful to be in wonderful town like Bellingham.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


This has been a tragic week in Bellingham. While there are usually few ripples of discontent (well other than the chronically woeful economy and wages, at which we all seem to accept, chide or chuckle), this week brought to tragic events.

The first was the accident a few blocks from my house where a child was struck and killed; the second is the disappearance of Dwight Clark, an 18-year-old Western student. I was at Uisce's last night after the Art Walk with some friends, and on the way home saw a slew of people on the street handing out fliers in hopes of finding this young person - another at such an early age. The Red Cross even had a vehicles on Magnolia and Railroad serving sustenance to the numerous volunteers.

In a town with virtually no murders, gang activity, hard drugs or serious crime, two events like this in one week cast a pall over this placid little town on the Puget Sound.

But the evening ended well with a veggie hot dog at El Capitán's downtown on Railroad, replete with relish, spicy mustard and sauerkraut. When a friend (who's since moved way out to the county) and I used to ply the downtown night spots, we would usually end the evening with the yummy vittles of El Capitán's. Arrrrgh.

Off to Fairhaven this cloudy (foggy?) morning to help a friend on her boat. Looks like the clouds are burning off at 10:45 on a Saturday morning.

Friday, October 1, 2010


Three blocks from my house were a bunch of flowers - sort of a shrine - on the sidewalk at the corner of Cornwall and Virginia. I knew these could not be for good reason. They never are. I continued on my motorbike ride and ended at a friend's house. It was there that I found out that a Bellingham High School student rear-ended another car and pushed the stopped car into the crosswalk where a woman was walking here toddler. How shocking and sad to hear of this news.

It happened yesterday, and I can only imagine the trauma felt by all parties, and the town of Bellingham as a whole. Life is so fragile. We all experience sadness at one point or another in our life, and this reminds me to be grateful for the beauty of life, as any day can wreak misfortune and pain.

As I finish typing this, I was interrupted by some friends unexpectedly dropping by. It's always nice to have my day broken up by this. Although the world has its tragedies, there are always the happy moments to cherish too.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Because something is happening here
But you don't know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones ?
-B. Dylan

I feel as though good times lie ahead in my little cacophonous life here in Bellingham. Since there is no real industry in this town, establishing a viable livelihood can be a rather daunting task. But things take a little longer here in this sleepy little seaside town, and slow and steady seems to be the path de facto to achieve anything.

But in spite of the laid by attitude in this City of Subdued Excitement, there is a pervasive murmur of entrepreneurial spirit here in Bellingham, and people commonly speak of the energy here that drives the attitude and positivity that abounds. I rarely hear of of anyone speaking of Bellingham in a disparaging tone. (This summer I heard a woman with out-of-state plates - evidently vacationing, replete with mountain bikes on the roof - scream out the window of her vehicle "I love this town!" Of course, silly. That's why we live here.

But this energy pertains too to the innovation and the new businesses and jobs that will replace the dwindling industrial base of this country. It's exciting to be part of these new ideas.

Yeah. it's hard to be humble when you live in a beautiful place like Bellingham

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


One of the most amazing things about Bellingham is how virtually no one (that I know, at least) watches any television. I was given a 13" television as gift back in the nineties and still watch an occassional DVD on it, but otherwise it goes unused.

This is a stark difference to living back east how every room seems to contain the constant drone of some mainstream media being piped into homes - with the news usually being sourced from CNN, FOX, etc. I also find it amazing that people actually rely upon the garbage MSM news that's being shoved down their collective throats. (Is it even news at all? Propaganda?) I liken CNN, FOX, et al., to eating fast food: Once you've not been subjected to it for awhile and seek alternative, more wholesome sources, you really how crappy it really is.

I am glad to live this life, and hope I never aspire to the world of flat screen televisions. I like engaging in conversation or reading about it from more accurate sources. Or not having my life revolve around "the game" or "the show" is so much more freeing. I will take a good book, CD or heated discussion any day over the sedentary dumbing down.

I read once how North Korea requires all homes to have government sponsored channels piped into their home around the clock through a media device (maybe some type of radio?). How is the US any different?

Monday, September 27, 2010


I do not know why, but this fall seems to have brought a tremendous increase in the spider population around Bellingham. It has been a frequent topic of discussion - they seem to be inordinately large and numerous this year.

Evidently there are some poisonous spiders lurking in my midst, including the Hobo Spider and Brown Recluse. I guess I should be concerned about their bites and intrusion into my civilized world, and combat them with insecticides and pesticides and myriad other chemicals, but they generally do not phase me. We seem to be able to share the same space.

Like most things, the media has a tendency to blow the effects of spider bites way out of proportion. I've read that yes, some people may have allergic reactions to spiders nearly die and others may see their flesh devoured, but the majority of people will feel nary anything beyond a slight bump or irritation caused by a spider bite - even the so-called poisonous ones.

I personally let them live and do their job and maintain a mutual friendship with them. And we all seem to get along just fine.

Another splendid fall day in Bellingham sitting in my favorite coffee shop waiting for a ten o'clock appointment to show up. Life is good in The 'Ham.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Graph is from this interesting site.

It is amazing how very few of my contemporaries have little optimism that the job prospects for this country will improve. I think we have accepted the fact that our generation (and future ones) will have little chance of jobs with full benefits, pensions, or even a social network (e.g., human services, social security) to fall back upon as our country becomes increasingly broke. Considering the un/underemployment ranks around 25%, there seems to be little talk of ever returning to the grandeur this country once knew.

Full employment is a thing of the past; instead we now hear terms like "structural unemployment" incorporated into our vocabulary. I remember hearing a decade or two back how technology would create an entirely new class of people called the "leisure class" that would not need to work due to the advancements our society made in technology and productivity. I guess they forgot to add that this class would be be impoverished and left to fare on their own.

I am lucky to have a graduate degree and the prospect of jobs when I decide to foray into the market. I am also grateful for living in an economically-deficient town like Bellingham where residents place much greater emphasis on the things that money cannot buy. I have never lived in a community where people have materially so little, yet are the most self-satisfied. I wonder if indeed there is a positive correlation between angst and consumption?

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Today was a day of doing what I really needed to clear my body and soul, and that was to take a bike ride around the south side of Lake Whatcom, east to SR9, and then south into Sedro-Woolley. Well almost. I take shortcut over Prairie Road to Old 99 and come back up north on the highway. SR9 and SR99 are probably two of my favorite roads to bike on around here for views, road conditions and (lack of) traffic.

Fifty miles later, I find myself home unwinding after a friend came by with his three dogs. I wonder if the night scene of Bellingham will beckon this evening?

Some days I have a re-emergence in my awareness of the beauty that surrounds us here. Today was one such day. And to return to town refreshed (albeit a little tired) is a good thing. Some day I dream of riding cross country starting on SR99. I wonder what it will be like to ride fifty miles per day after day after day for a few months.

And I wonder how many more glorious days like today fall holds in store for us?

Acorn Project

Tonight was a night of music, as was last night, at the Wild Buffalo. Tonight, the Accorn Project; last night, The Productionists. Bllingham has a vibrant music scene, and I am glad to support it. And its always fun to see fellow Bellinghamsters out and about in good spirits on this wonderful warm fall night.

I cannot write much more, as I am quite tired and hope to bike ride tomorrow. Seventy-four and sunny.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bellingham Food Bank

Max Morange, agricultural programs coordinator for the Bellingham Food Bank, tries to catch an ear of corn while loading up approximately 1,160 pounds of sweet corn harvested by volunteers Wednesday morning, Sept. 22, 2010, at Boxx Berry Farm for the Bellingham Food Bank's Small Potatoes Gleaning Project. The corn will be distributed to some of the 29 different hunger relief agencies in Whatcom County.

For a few years I have been volunteering at the Bellingham Food Bank on Wednesday nights. People tell me how nice it is that I work with these people. Altruism aside, I really do it because it's tremendous fun and I get to see the friends I've made over the years, as well as people in my community that need some help.

Some habitually come; others look to it as a last resort. Sometimes the pain on the faces of the families (especially children aware that they are actually in line at the food bank) can be a little dispiriting. But still, we try to make it a fun event and usually laugh and joke with many of the families in need.

Most are grateful that we are there to help them, and I am grateful to be able to serve them. We are lucky to have these wonderful resources and people in a town like Bellingham.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


What began as a festive evening with the International Peace Day Celebration in Bellingham turned into a late night of celebration with friends and wonderful people. Night turned to dawn and our collective reluctance to end a spectacular day. As ususal, I was the sober one driving - back up Chuckanut Drive as the ripe full moon was setting in the northwestern sky.

I guess one way to avoid getting stressed out about having to wake up horribly early is to not go to bed. Oddly enough, I find that going a night without slumber can be refreshing and I've done it numerous times at the helm of a sailboat or behind the desk in Corporate America.

So I sit here waiting for a conference call to begin as I type a few words onto this web log on a sunny, crisp, Bellingham morning.

Monday, September 20, 2010

International Peace Day Jam in Bellingham

I have been helping a little with this event tomorrow - the International Peace Day Jam in Bellingham. I was told that the Taliban actually laid down there arms for a cease fire during one of the Peace Days past. Imagine the possibilities.

Hope to see you there. Either my housemate or I will probably be the ones collecting your ten bucks.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

International Peace Day Jam in Bellingham

International Peace Day Jam in Bellingham

Tuesday September Twenty-First

Melody Hall

4071 Home Road

Six O’Clock PM $10

Bellingham, Washington, United States of America

Great bands, raw foods, inspirational speakers, earth friendly vendors, fun for all ages, & much more.

Bands Include Yogoman Burning Band, Misty Flowers & Jan Peters, Damon Dimitri Jones, Rock Solomon, Shanty Town, The Productionists, JD and the Blackouts, & Ashley Douglas.

Let's create a world of peace together, one community at a time, starting here in Bellingham.

Check the event out at www.peaceday.tv. $10 admission. Children under 10 free.

Celebrate peace in our lifetime by coming to this fantastic event and committing to living a life of peace from this day forward.