Wednesday


14
Jul 21

Life in slower motion

We set out for a bike ride this evening. Nothing serious, just a quick hour through an hour’s worth of neighborhoods. About seven of them, I’d say. Then again, not every stretch of road runs through a tightly grouped neighborhood. I bet if you went door-to-door along today’s route not everyone would think they lived in a neighborhood. They’d wonder why a person in a helmet and funny clothes was knocking on their door. Asking about their neighbors. And sweating all over the place.

I’ve had to swap inner tubes in a few front yards. You get self conscious of that quite quickly. It’s probably the funny clothes.

Anyway, a nice little ride. I was slow, because that is my lot lately. The only solution to that is more riding. The Yankee was faster. There’s a turnaround on the route, and she made it there first, slowed, turned and was coming back the other direction.

I don’t think she was going especially fast, or trying overly hard, she just was fast. Maybe it’s the bike or the gearing, but probably it’s just she’s good at this. Also I’m not riding especially comfortably just now. If I thought about it too much I’d convince myself someone has been tinkering with my bike setup. Which always feels precarious, anyway. I’m like the princess and the pea over here. Change the tires, use different bottles, I can feel it.

And if you’re going this slow you have plenty of time to notice!


7
Jul 21

Things I saw on the road

If you’re in the car at the right time, you can see something dramatic. You could see something dramatic at anytime, really. It depends on your definitions. A good stable molecular structure is all around us and that’s nothing short of miraculous, if you ask me. Maybe it depends on where you’re willing to look. Going outside helps. I should do that more. But, still the quantum nature of stuff in the house, or in the office or in the studio can be equally impressive …

But those early evening clouds, they sure are swell, aren’t they?

You know how modern phone commercials advertise everything but the actual phone? I’d like to see a few commercials that show the next practical advancements of phone cameras. You want to wow me? Make me buy a new phone? Show me a model that captures an impressive moon photo, or makes a rainbow’s photo look as glorious as the optical illusion of a spectrum caused by the reflection and refraction and dispersion of light in water droplets in the sky.

If I’d had a proper camera with me today, maybe that would be better. But it’s still dramatic in its own way. A rainbow! Shift to the left, hand in the pocket, pull out the phone, open that wondrous little app and snap a series of tries. It’s a picture of chance, a photo of opportunity. The car never slowed down. There’s no thought to composition, only that old story about the pot of gold that’s at the other end, and a wry smile about how that end of the rainbow is always moving.

If you want to improve your non-moving-car rainbow photography, there’s a lot of advice out there. You can also learn to make your own rainbows. See, dramatic anytime.

More of this tomorrow!


30
Jun 21

Beaches

This is the last of the mini-vacation posts. We’ve been back from a four-day trip for a week. I’ve managed to coax a week and-a-half of posts, and 41 photos and a dozen videos out of it. And all of it is interesting and of vital importance to the Internet.

So we’ll relax today and unwind with a bit of time at the beach.

This is out on a morning run. I know there are other places like this, but one of my favorite features of the Pacific Northwest is how the hills and mountains just fall right into the ocean.

Where I’m from you’d have to drive more than three hours from the coast to see any hill of note. So looks like that always intrigue me.

Here’s a bit more of that path that runs along the coast. The ocean is just off to the left there, just a few yards away. And yet, there are little hills here, and it’s made of a sand and soil stable enough to put down asphalt.

And while those pines and firs are familiar, this scrubby, tall grass is something of a new treat.

You know, another thing you don’t see anywhere but on a coast is sculpture like this. Two hundred miles inland it’d make no sense to see boat bumpers hanging on a light post. That far away, you’d roll your eyes at industrial fish netting on the wall of anything other than a Long John Silver’s. And this would be right out.

Here we are, down on the beach one day. That’s not me fishing, of course.

And while any of my photography professors would say I blew the rule of thirds in that picture, I nailed the golden ratio. That guy’s face lands in the Fibonacci circle, even though I was far from considering that while I was on the beach. Also, you’ll note his fishing pole is point up at the sun, and his eyes are looking that same way, which directs your eyes up to the sun, which just appears in the corner. Only some of those things were on my mind while trying to keep the sand out of my shoes. It’s a pretty happy series of accidents that came together to create a fairly dynamic and decent composition. And sand got in my shoes anyway, as it should be on the beach.

Here’s a video of that beach, from almost that same spot.

Again, that hill just falls right into the sea. There’s something wonderful about that.

And here’s a bit more, just in case it has been too long since you’ve seen the ocean.

It’s been a week for me, maybe it’s already too long.


23
Jun 21

Catching up, last Saturday

Here’s the deal, I’m writing this in arrears. We deliberately ratcheted down our screen time for a few days, but we saw a lot of lovely things and I wanted to share them here. The easiest way to do that, I figured, is in sequence. So, yes, this is published for Wednesday, June 23, the day we returned. But this particular post covers Saturday, June 19th.

Do you remember where you were on Saturday? I do. Here’s the proof.

As we previously discussed, we’re on a trip that’s a surprise to me. We flew yesterday, landing in Seattle and spending the night there. But it wasn’t our final destination. And we were on the plane to Seattle, our second plane of the trip, before I learned that much about where we were going.

We got a rental car this morning and visited the famous Pike Place Market.

That’s where The Yankee and I met her second cousin. She lives nearby, and took us out for lunch. It was a family introduction and a family reunion.

She is the author of eight books, meaning she’s got plenty of stories to share. She told us all about her childhood in Alaska, re-meeting my mother-in-law as adults, her travels abroad, her family, history and architecture. It was a pleasant lunch conversation with a lovely woman.

And we did some people watching on the balcony of the Copacabana, a Bolivian restaurant in the market. It’s been a family-owned joint for longer than I’ve been alive. And, on this day, the line to get in was short. In general, there were people milling about, but Seattle is apparently a city still emerging. The market, we were told, did not yet look like the crowded place it would be on a brilliant June Saturday.

At Copacabana, try their fritanga. It had fresh-tasting hominy — from a can, I’m sure, but still good. And the pork was simmered in an Andean cumin sauce. It was nice and mild, and I wish there was more of it. Quite tasty.

I haven’t had hominy in ages. Saw it on the menu and blocked out everything else. Hominy, I believe comes from Mesoamerica. I don’t know when it made it’s way down to Bolivia, but it’s nice that it did. It worked well here. Also, hominy is more nutritious than other corn products. (So grab some today!)

After we said our goodbyes we hoped in the rental car and drove a quick three hours outside of Seattle on a sunny summer day to Long Beach, Washington. You can find it down near the Oregon border.

Our rental condo was just 300 yards through some tall grass and low pines from the beach.

May I present to you, the beach:

I don’t guess I’ve seen the ocean since July of 2019. The seashore isn’t a spiritual destination for me like it is for some people, but even so, two years seems much too long.

Here are some panoramas of the beach. Click to embiggen.

I stood there on the beach making these changes to the photo, admiring a view I’d never see, when the actual beach was before me. And isn’t that a silly thing to do? Once more, click to embiggen.

In the next post, we’ll see a bit of Pacific coast history, and more Pacific Northwest beauty.


16
Jun 21

When things float to the surface

I don’t even recall what I was looking for, but it wasn’t in the same subdirectory. Anyway, I ran across this shot from the Crest Building. It was 2002 or 2003. And I really don’t recall what this was about.

I’m sure it was a very important news story. Let’s go with it being a Roy Moore story. Could be a Don Siegelman story. Or a Richard Scrushy story.

I was doing a lot of work covering people destined for infamy, or worse, just then. It could have been an election piece.

One of those guys, the chief justice of the state supreme court, was removed from the bench. Two of them, a governor and a captain of industry, wound up in jail. The state’s narrowest gubernatorial election was held. The difference was something like 3,000 votes, as I recall. And there was a sublimely ridiculous mayoral race. It came down to a runoff. One candidate refused to do media interviews and she, ultimately got trounced.

I was at her watch party that night and reminded her that, if only she’d talked to us …

She ran again a few years later and did do interviews and finished a distant, distant third.

I’m looking at that 2003 mayoral field. Almost everyone in it was a mayor or a city council member (the glacial impasse between mayor and council was a big issue that election cycle) or has been convicted of something, or a combination of the three.

Good journalism. Good times.

Speaking of which …