Halloween 2003

Its Halloween time again, which means another trip back to Bellingham to grasp for that fleeting feeling of being in college again. Its also a chance to enjoy some of my favorite local offerings: Archer Ale house, Mt. Biking on Galbraith, Misc food (somewhat difficult to pick a place), and drinking beer and misbehaving.

This year I’m going to go as “Eased travel restrictions to Cuba”, which is a current event. I’m afraid it will be entirely lost, but I’ve got a thing for dressing up as Castro. I dressed up as him back in high school, and was pleased at the quality of my costume. This time I have my own beard, but worry that people may not realize who I am. What does my costume choice say about me? I’m not sure, but it probably says something about the absurdity of the embargo and the infantile viewpoint of the powers that be.

Oakley Freed – A good dog

Oakley is no longer with us.

Oakley was a surprise birthday present for my mom. My dad planned a covert camping trip around getting her. After canoeing for the weekend, they stopped by a breeder in Granite Falls. She was the least hyper of the bunch, and was absolutely adorable. She was a wonderful dog, and led a wonderful life. Early on however, there were some bumps. She managed to eek by parvo as a puppy and was diagnosed with hip dysplasia. She managed past those hurdles, and was active up until this, her 14th year.

Anyone who has smelled it can attest that she had the worst gas in the world. Her farts quickly befouled rooms. Changes in diet, carbon pills, even voodoo couldn’t mellow the paint stripping ability of her farts. Funny how something like this becomes endearing.

Oakely loved walks. She’d start dancing when she’d see the red leash, and though she didn’t need it, was comfortable on it. At ease around other dogs, she’d generally mind her own; exploring smells, or fixating on the log pile where there might be mice. She was also gentle. On a trip to Canyonlands, she caught a blue skink. She was just as shocked to catch it as the skink was, and dropped it immediately. The skink lost its tail; a self defense mechanism, but managed away safely. She blended in well in the desert. Red.

As she aged, white patches developed around her happy eyes. Her constant smile showed how friendly she was. She even put up with Barley, the little bastard dog who always wanted to play. We thought Barley might kill her over the month she lived with us in an apartment, but she managed to ignore him, occasionally bark to let him know her feelings.

Dad and I would take her on backpacking trips, and she’d carry her own bags. Even with hip dysplasia, she managed to hike long distances, often many times over as she’d run up and down the trail, often cutting the back of our legs with her backpack.

Oakley was an amazing soul. Such happiness, patience, and love. If only we could all share her disposition.

I’ve posted a small gallery and hope to add to it.

Alarm Clock

I work earlier on Fridays and usually set my alarm clock to wake me. I forgot to set it. This morning I awoke to the strangest electronic clicking. It was about 15 minutes after when I should have gotten up, but the darkness and comfort of the bed had tricked me into thinking it was earlier.

The clicking noise was coming from my old digital clock. I received this digital radio/alarm clock when I was 7, and have been using it since. I remember very little pop music from my childhood, but much of what I remember I heard on this clock (Cyndi Lauper, Huey Lewis). The radio/alarm function quit working years ago, but some phantom in the clock decided to wake me this morning. Thanks.

What could be romantic to Mike Watt?

Scott, Sarah, Michelle and I hit up the Mike Watt / Flaming Lips / Red Hot Chilli Peppers concert last night. It was great.

Mike Watt has been a favorite of mine for a while, but I’ve never seen him live. The surley bastard is amazing. Watching his hands as he plays the bass is startling. There’s violence in the strumming and slapping, but amazing deftness as he plays lead in between the thunks on his old Gibson bass. Flea joined Mike & Co. for a long jam leading into a stellar version of One Reporter’s Opinion. Mike donned his standard issue flanel shirt with rolled sleves, and was everything I had hoped for.

I didn’t know what to expect from the Flaming Lips. I’ve not heard much of them. They put on an incredible show though. Between the 30 giant balloons bouncing in the crown, movie clips, strobe lights, dancing animals, and bull horn yelling, there was a lot for the brain to process. I felt as if the artists themselves were somewhat displeased by the audience reaction, but it was all we could do to not pee our pants at the multitude of happenings during the show.

The Chilli Peppers were great as usual. I never get tired of watching Flea play, and John seemed to be enjoying himself as much as we were. How Flea and Anthony can move like that and still produce music, let alone good music is amazing. The set was predominantly stuff from the last 2 albums, though Soul to Squeeze slipped in, and Fire, Under the Bridge, and Give it away made up the encore. Interludes between songs highlighted John & Flea’s chemistry, and provided some great grooves.

Dining Set

I spent much of the weekend working on finishing the dining set my grandparents gave us. My mom did the hard work of stripping the previous finish off (yes, I’ve heard plenty of “your mom is a stripper” jokes already). I’ve been putting it off for some time, but it needs to be done by Thanksgiving. I used Watco Danish Oil for everything except the chairs, which I’ll do soon. It really brought the wood back to life. I used natural because Michelle isn’t a fan of dark oak (or oak in general), but this very old set has some really nice detail, and even some random quarter-sawn pieces mixed in. After oiling, the table and sideboard exude color. Now I’m waiting for the first coat of water-based polyurethane to dry. I’m putting urethane on the tops of the table and sideboard so it has scratching, heat, and water resistance. Please God, don’t let the cat get on the table as soon as I leave.

Cubs Fan Damage

I’m not a violent person, but there was no shortage of violent things I wanted to happen to the jerkwad to prevented Moises Alou from catching a foul ball. It would have been a brilliant play that would have ultimately led to the Cubs going to the world series. I hope you’re happy jerkwad.

No Energy Star

Server was down most of the afternoon because the guy installing the dishwasher shut down the breaker. That included my computer. Small price to pay for having a new dishwasher. Its done a marvelous job of removing the specks and marks our manual efforts left over the past 4 weeks.

Only down side, the washer is at the very top of the energy use range for comparable models. Its no energy star, which probably isn’t a big concern for landlords. At least we’ll save water.

Updates from Yakistan

Just pulled in from Yakima. My parents came out of the mountains for a couple days to winterize the house and take care of some other items. My mom is now running the bookstore, driving a school bus between the boat and camp, and will soon be part of the painting crew.

My dad’s duties as the medic have nearly stopped now that the busy part of the season is over, so he’s been reassigned as a mason, carpenter, and bluegrass musician, and whatever else turns up. They’re both really enjoying themselves, and seem quite happy. Senator Paul Simon came and visited, as well as a number of traveling musicians, theologians, and lots of seemingly normal people.

Oakley is getting very old very quickly, and she’s lost weight, coordination, and her back legs have lost muscle mass. She’s still just a loving, but her days are numbered. Hopefully Hilary doesn’t have to make any difficult decisions anytime soon. She’s doing well also. And her photography looks great.