Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas From The San Joaquin Valley

This may take a bit of CSI'ing: There's an English Sparrow in there...

Our father's large cactus plants bear abuntdantly. My sister and I shared one of these while we were in Sicily: Fichidini (prickly pear)...

Shadows lengthen near the setting of the sun...

A member of the thistle family...

This variety is the Fuyu. Sliced and dried in the Ronco Food Dehydrator, they are unbelievable...

Merry Christmas to all!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Looking Across The Estuary

About a week ago, I drove across the bridge on a mission: Get fresh saltwater. That always sounds just a bit confusing. Fresh water and salt water with water and fresh and then salt in the same sentence. I was after saltwater to replenish the old saltwater in the cold saltwater water aquarium. Ah, forget it. You know what I mean. Anyway, I drove over to South Beach to get some fresh saltwater. When I got there, I saw things in a way completely different from my many previous visits. What changed the way I see, you ask. The new picturer did it. I no longer see through eyes. I see through the viewfinder implant that I received with the Nikon D40. A great way to see, if you ask me.

The picture fest began at last light. The exposures were mostly a little over 30 seconds. The orange glow off in the distance is from the sodium vapor lights on commercial fishing vessels coming back with their loads of dungeness crab. Keep in mind that, except for the bridge, just about everything in this shot is moving on liquid cold fresh saltwater water.

It's all about color. And color at night in a picture is like stealing. I feel naughty.

The United States Coast Guard helicopter paints a faint smile over our fair city.

That streak of light bars on the left is actually a fishing boat traveling left to right. It has illuminated the F/V Seeker quite nicely.

Here you can see the tail end of the fishing boat entering the Port Docks, protected by a rock jetty.

Parting shot: Sunrise as viewed from the logging road between my little hill and the world of paved roads.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

A Storm Is Brewing (and we're all gonna die!)

For some reason, the news media are hyping storms with a kind of storm of their own. They didn't used get all worked up. Maybe it's a liability thing. When a big storm was coming, we just settled in and waited for it to come and then to pass. The lights would go out for a couple days and we'd call it good. Not now, though. It's all over the news and everyone is buzzing with "the big storm" talk. I may be proved wrong, but when I had had enough as the umteenth person came up to me and asked if I was ready for "the big storm," I turned to them so that I could see their eyes. I removed my glasses and sent my chin on a one inch dive so that the rest of my face could make a serious comment. I said, "Yeah. I'm ready. And do you know what's going to happen?" "No. What?," came the reply. "Nothing," I said before putting my glasses back on.

I hope I don't have to eat those words along with a half cord worth of splinters from the rotted top of that red alder in the front yard after it comes crashing through my living room windows.

The first of two big storms came through today. To my surprise--and delight--I didn't feel much of it. I went to the local airport weather report on Weather Underground and saw that it was blowing 48 mph with a peak gust of 78 mph. Nice. Top wind gust for the state took place on Cape Mears in Tillamook County---105 mph. I was vindicated on the first go-round.

The "big one" is scheduled to reach landfall sometime after midnight. We are expecting winds in the 80s. Just in case, I have filled 7 of those 5 gallon plastic buckets with toilet flushes, topped off all the plastic water bottles I could dig out of the recycle, and I did the laundry. So far, the power has only gone off twice, and very briefly both times.

The first two pictures were taken last week. This is Depoe Bay, "Smallest Harbor In The World," the sign says as you come into town before blinking and then realizing you have passed on through. They have a restaurant there called, "The Spouting Horn." It is named after what you are seeing in the pictures. A good high tide is all you need to send saltwater skyward when it all gets rammed into the narrowed channels that create the phenomenon.

I went out on my front deck to record what could be the last photographs of Gawpo. I went out there to say good bye because, according to the news, we are all going to die:

The mug was acquired in Cefalu, Sicily. Come to think of it, so was the Gawpo. But in Camporeale:

The Gawpo leaning back in smug repose, waiting for "the big one." In French, "the big one" is spelled G-A-D-O-T. See that red sweatshirt? That is Gawpo's favorite sweatshirt. He found it in a dumpster. True story. Once washed, it retained all its glorious stains thus consigning itself to the category of favorite. See that knit cap? Gawpo found that, too. Found it, in fact, the same day the pictures of the Spouting Horn were taken. The hat was wet. Once washed, it was good as new, thus consigning itself to Gawpo's newest favorite cap. True story.

As I sit here this evening and type, I can't help feeling a bit apprehensive. It was blowing pretty hard today. It was noisy outside. Right now though, it is eerily quiet. It is....well, how shall I put this: It is "eye" quiet.