Wednesday, December 27, 2006

New on the Blogroll

A good buddy of mine (and fellow photographer) has started his own photoblog. So go take a look at Available Light. The first images he's posted are from Pike's Peak and the Grand Canyon.

(This post brought to you courtesy of the wireless internet connection at the Lincoln County Public Library. We're all safe and happy and have had a grand holiday so far. I hope you all can say the same.)

Friday, December 22, 2006

Beautiful Wreck? I 've got one of the two, and guess which one it is

Isn't it funny how music can sound like a beginning?

For some reason, I always find my new mountain driving/hiking/kayaking soundtracks right around the first of the year. Last year it was the superb Brokeback soundtrack. This year it's my beloved Shawn Mullins, whose music has riveted me for many, many years. So imagine my delight at his latest, 9th Ward Pickin' Parlor. (Which I'm stunned to discover has been out for awhile and somehow, somehow, I missed it.) I don't love all Mullins' songs (some of the more pop-sounding ones kind of make me yawn), but I go out of my mind over about three quarters of them.

And now, there's the jaw droppingly perfect Blue as You:

New like smoky mornin’, Cool like heaven glow
Meet me on the mountain, I got no place to go

I like my daylight to be silver
I like my night skies to be blue
Blue as you
Go here and scroll halfway down to listen to clips from the CD, including of course, Blue as You, and the irresistible Beautiful Wreck.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Quote of the day

"Never, ever go anywhere ... and not be prepared to spend some time out there, because you might get caught," Wampler said. "Oregon, the Northwest, anytime you get off that highway out here, you're in the wilderness."

-- Sheriff Joe Wampler, discussing the recent search for three climbers on Mt. Hood, and no doubt also referring to the Kim family tragedy in southern Oregon.

This is exactly right. I was discussing with Tony recently why both of those incidents affected me so much, and I think it's because I identify with both parties in some measure. Mr. T and I are a couple with a child who spend a fair amount of time on isolated mountain roads, and we're also outdoor enthusiasts who love the Mt. Hood area. These recent events have caused us to reexamine our practices, to mentally consider our gear, to more carefully evaluate what we take in the car during the winter, and to consider the implications of every outdoor foray.

One of my first bosses in the legal biz advised me once to "consider how other people can screw up," and plan accordingly. But I think it's also critical to consider how you can screw up, and plan accordingly.

Overconfidence kills.

Form Over Substance?

Posted by Wasteland Fan

A "friend" recently received the following e-mail from his/her boss (note that some details have been redacted to protect the innocent . . . and, perhaps, the clueless):

A small restroom on the fourth floor of [one of the] building[s] is
now designated as a lactation room. The lactation room is in the [redacted] wing of [that] building and is located between [one room] and the men's restroom. A sign immediately outside the lactation room reads "Women." No access code is needed to gain entry. [Your employer] provided this space as part of a [company] initiative to establish lactation rooms [at all locations].

Oh, those overly-coddled working moms! Not only do they get to horde all of that societally-imposed guilt, but they get actual rooms set aside for them to lounge in while they "lactate." This particular one is really special, because it has these nifty "chairs" that allow the user to relieve herself while she pumps. And, if that weren't enough, each "chair" has it's own privacy walls surrounding it! Notice, too, that the lactation room is cleverly disguised as a women's restroom, too. I presume this is so that the men and the non-lactating women don't get jealous. The detail of the disguise is really impressive. Having a sign reading "Women" installed at the entry? Genius!

Clearly this employer is poised to shoot to the top of Working Mother Magazine's Family Friendly Company list. Watch out Abbott!

Seriously, is this a joke? How is this different from the status quo? I thought a major point of initiatives to establish lactation rooms was to save lactating women from having to hide away in unsanitary bathrooms to pump.

To conclude, I refer you to the title of this post.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Vacuum up those dustbunnies in the corner where the recliner used to be, willya?

Isn't it nice when you throw open the windows and move the furniture around a bit?

(Quit complaining, Bloggerdad. You'll get used to it eventually.)

Monday, December 18, 2006

A long post I begin by asserting that I have nothing to say

I'm afraid you all should just expect the posting to become even more sparse and even less pithy over the next few days, and through the new year. I'm trying to finish up some work before we leave for Montana, and really [looks furtively around and whispers] there's nothing going on anyway. Well, other than my amusing efforts at a lower-carbon Christmas, which mostly involve competing with Full Moon over who can produce the coolest gift wraps with reused materials. (She always wins.) Well, I did have twelve people I don't know at my house Saturday night to watch An Inconvenient Truth, but that's all.

Of course, now that I've asserted that nothing's going on, something will happen and I'll be back to posting again. But barring that, my inner sloth is taking over. Oh, something may catch my eye or I might disgorge an interesting quote or two, but if you're looking for amusement, you'd better go to Disneyworld because you probably won't find it here.

Hopefully something interesting (other than a car crash or other imperiling event) will occur in Montana that I can relate to you, like the time I saw the Volkswagen bus with a goat in it at the grocery store, or the bobcat I forgot to tell you I saw over Thanksgiving. (We saw it at the dump. What an undignified place to have a wildlife encounter. On the other hand, I've decided that's where I'm going from now on to get my wildlife photographs.)

We did have dinner with friend and hiking partner EJ and his family last night. We were in the middle of our usual euchre game when EJ put his cards down. I saw it coming. "So, I was thinking," was all he got out before I began to laugh.

EJ and his daughter came off the trail last July shortly after I did. I still haven't figured out why I got off; at the time I vaguely attributed it to a mismatch in goals and paces, though that wasn't really it. Ultimately, I'm glad I did get off. If I hadn't, I would have taken Boo along, and she obviously would have died along the trail, and I would no doubt have attempted to carry her out as she lost energy. I can't begin to contemplate the ugliness of that scenario, so I'm glad to have been spared it.

But back to the point. EJ figures we can easily finish the 74-mile Sky Lakes wilderness section next year in 7-10 days. Once we get past that section, the hiking is close enough to home to be accomplished in short sections.

"Oh, okay," I said. "If we must." Laughter all around.

I'm thinking we'll finish up the section between where we left off and where EJ quit last year over the July 4 weekend, then we'll do the Sky Lakes section in August, barring any interference from forest fires.

I looked over their photo album of the trip last night. It was a nice reminder that, while backpacking, I really do look like ass in a can. Ass in a can, people, ass in a can. Whew, that is some grim stuff right there. Eh, whatever.

This lady, on the other hand, managed to maintain a cool loveliness during the trip. Perhaps I should begin wallowing in the mud on the trail as well.

I guess 2006 wasn't Trailhead Kid's year

Trailhead Kid last night, singing:

We wish you a Merry Christmas
We wish you a Merry Christmas
We wish you a Merry Christmas
And a happier year

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Look, Full Moon! We ain't so dumb after all!

Check this out:

As a child's IQ rises, his taste for meat in adulthood declines, a new study suggests.

British researchers have found that children's IQ predicts their likelihood of becoming vegetarians as young adults -- lowering their risk for cardiovascular disease in the process. The finding could explain the link between smarts and better health, the investigators say.


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Quote of the day

"After all, it's a vicious, capitalistic world and hence common sense, intuition and true spiritual awareness are often merely the meek bitchslaves to aggressive marketing campaigns and soulless politicians and an instant gratification culture that values the immediate money shot far more than it does long-term slow-burn extended orgasm. Deep, soulful caring is often just below 'replace smoke alarm battery' in terms of priority."

An interesting take on the game of chicken we're playing with climate disruption from Mark Morford, columnist for SF Gate. Read the whole thing here.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Subject? We don't need no stinkin' subject

This is my first attempt at an underwater nature photograph, circa 2004. That contraption -- also known as a Nikonos V and Ikelite strobe -- ain't exactly graceful. Plus, I always have trouble on dives actually staying down, on accounta I'm full of hot air a chick with body fat, and this makes my body want to pop to the surface like an unfettered buoy. They always weigh me down with multiple metal bars strapped into a piece of webbing which then gets tied around my waist. But it's still a fight, and when your body is trying to surface, these are the kinds of compositions you get.

Fortunately, I'll get another opportunity to use the old film-based dinosaur contraption in January, when we head to the Florida Keys for more days than I deserve, and fewer days than I would like.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Question for Pacific Northwest winos

Our neighbors in Montana, Dr. G and her husband The Professor, are just incredibly lovely people. The Professor keeps the road up the mountain meticulously plowed, and always carefully plows the drive up to our house when we visit in the winter. He has a key to our place, and keeps the heat regulated for us, as well as just generally watching over the place.

The Professor is also something of a wine connoisseur. I, on the other hand, am not. I like the smell of wine and will occasionally take a sip or two, but to me a cabernet might as well be that thing you keep your pots and pans in. Are there any Oregon or Washington wines, perhaps organic, that Santa would not be embarassed to bring The Professor?

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown

Being busy in the first half of December is something of a tradition for me. In law school (and college before that), this was final exam time. Law school exams are harrowing, primarily because the final is most likely the only graded event in the entire course. If you screw the pooch on the final exam, kiss your grade point average goodbye. And as anyone who's been through law school (and law firm interviews) knows, it's all about the friggin' GPA.

Perversely, I kind of liked studying for finals. I got to hole up at home in ripe sweats and a ponytail, listen to A Charlie Brown Christmas, and outline my Contracts course. Outlining appealed to the compulsive in me; six different colors of highlighter and three different colors of ink for the various elements of the outline. And if the test I was studying for was open book, cue five different colors of Post-it notes arrayed carefully on the outline situated in a three-ring binder. And Linus and Lucy playing chirpily in the background.

Soon this will all be over, I'd think, and I can enjoy Christmas -- and enjoy the great gobs of time that were my own, to do with whatever I wanted. No place to be but maybe back in Indiana or Mr. T's parents' house in Georgia. Nothing to do but read for pleasure, watch a few movies or sit around with Mr. T and our dogs. On the evening of the last final, Mr. T and I would go out to dinner so we could remind ourselves what the other looked like and talk about Christmas shopping.

These days, it's not exams. But strangely, it seems I always get a rush of work the first half of December. So today I found myself at the kitchen table, pecking away at my laptop keyboard, Schroeder playing Fur Elise in the background.

Soon, I'll be enjoying the Christmas season.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Quote of the day

"I, for one, am tired of paying the price of 10 or more of our troops dying a day. So let's cut and run or cut and walk, but let us fight the way on terror more intelligently that we have because we have fought this war in a very lamentable way."

-- Oregon's (Republican) Senator Gordon Smith

He also observed that he is at "the end of my rope when it comes to supporting a policy that has our soldiers patrolling the same streets in the same way, being blown up the same bombs, day after day."

"That is absurd," he said. "It may even be criminal."

Nothing like a little Iraq Study Group to provide a bit of political cover. I'm becoming convinced that was what the ISG was really aiming for in the report. No one on that panel could have expected Bush to heed their words. I think the ISG crew was trying to convince a) the traditional media, who for some reason seem to think that withdrawal is out of the mainstream notwithstanding that 60% of Americans favor complete withdrawal in 6 months, and b) senators and congressfolk who are, for whatever reason, still in thrall to Bush and Rove.

Well, they can put a checkmark by Gordon Smith.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Tonight at Chez Trailhead

Mr. T and I are sitting side by side on the couch, laptops on laps, feet up on the oak chest, alternately working and watching bits of The Daily Show.

Mr. T: Listen to this. [Reads ad from craigslist seeking "erotic services" in exchange for digital photography.*] Who replies to this stuff?

Trailhead: I dunno. You know, I think you should post an ad on craigslist saying, "Seeking someone to give me money for doing nothing."

Mr. T: "Serious inquiries only!"

We totally crack ourselves up. Maybe you had to be there.

* He was looking at the digital SLRs for sale for me, perverts. Yes, I checked.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

"The era of consequences"

As most of you know who suffered through my endless posting of All Things Tester this election cycle (as well as my overwrought election liveblogging), I care a lot about issues. I vote, read the news voraciously, and actually attempt to achieve at least a rough match between the principles I yammer on about and my life.

Which is why it's surprising that I did not view An Inconvenient Truth until two nights ago. Truth is, I only have so much stomach lining, people, and I just knew that if I watched that film before the election, the acid would chew clean through it. I already know it's a huge problem, I told myself, so why do I have to go and scare the bejesus out of myself even further?

Plus, I knew it would make me nostalgic for Al Gore, for whom my adoration eclipses even that which I hold for Jon Tester. Damn it, I went to bed election night 2000 thinking our country might survive and even flourish, and three weeks later Warmonger G was the President-elect. That hurt.

But recently Mr. T and I have been lately having discussions about the future involving those nettlesome questions about matching principles to practice, and I realized I needed Al's backup. Mr. T was a geologist and environmental consultant before he became a bidnessman, and so he has a perfectly good sense of climate disruption and the human cause of it, but it was still too much an abstraction. In the course of these chats, I mentioned AIT.

"So let's see it," he urged.

And we did. Whew. To say it's compelling is somewhat less than adequate. The film so deftly strips away the abstractions of global warming and sets forth, in plain and stark relief, the moral imperative. There are parts of the film where even the knowledgeable Mr. T gasped. But you leave hopeful; Gore outlines, in graph form, all the changes that will ratchet down the warmth of the planet. This one's a life changer.

As a result, you'll probably be seeing more posts here about this issue.

Roger Ebert wrote, in his review of An Inconvenient Truth:

In 39 years, I have never written these words in a movie review, but here they are: You owe it to yourself to see this film. If you do not, and you have grandchildren, you should explain to them why you decided not to.
If you haven't seen it yet, see it. You really sort of owe it to the world.

Little pitchers, big ears

Actual scene tonight as Thomas was about to grab one of Trailhead Kid's toys:

Trailhead Kid: "Damn it, Thomas, don't even think about it!"

Me: TK --! [Turns head and begins to stifle gales of uproarious laughter as Mr. T shoots me a dirty look, then struggles for his own composure.]

Why is it the kid doesn't listen to either of us until we say something like "Damn it, Thomas, don't even think about it"?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Do slugs have an*ses?

Is there anyone who's been around this blog long enough to remember when slugs were the order of the day, and not vultures?

Gee, maybe it's time for another sabbatical.

Thanksgiving goes to the dogs

Unlike his humans, Thomas is unfazed by any existential questions that may have arisen from his tumble down a ravine in the pickup truck.

The view from the bay window when we first got there:

What it looked like the day before we left:

A random view of the solarium. We spent a fair amount of time in the hot tub, which you can see at the bottom of the pic (or the cover, at least):

Friday, December 01, 2006

All right now

Which one of you is visiting Sarasota, Florida and thought it would be funny to google "nature photos vult*re sh*t?"

(No, I haven't turned into a pearl-clutcher, I'm just trying to lower my bird-of-prey related google ranking.)

Better than South Beach

Give a damn about the world? Read's Green Challenge and go on a carbon diet.