Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Portland Portland Portland (with a Bend in there too)

Blog delay. Lots o' stuff happening. Its been a while. Here we go. Two weekends ago turned out to be a grade A auditory, visual, and sensual extravaganza. We hopped a flight from the bustling Eastsound Airport from a new good friend, Scott Malcom, in his charming little Cessna into an actually bustling Hillsboro Airport in Portland. One and a half hour flight versus a six to seven hour car hell-ride... you do the math. It was a great flight over the sound and past the Olympic mountains that I sure hope to do again. Upon arriving in Portland, Kelly picked us up and, worried about our spiritual energies ( I was with PJ), she decided to take us to a Christian/Spiritual Festival down by the waterfront. I can't remember what it was called-- we stayed for a really long time, measurable in minutes. All revved up with cosmic, metaphysical goodness (...), we sallied forth to an equally energetic venue: The Vault. You really can't beat four dollar happy-hour martinis. Sara, Nick, Blaze, Liam and some new friends came to talk about God, String Theory, and the world's best burrito (which might be at Ole Ole's in Portland). We finished off the evening at Kelly's favorite hangout, Chopsticks, so she could sing karaoke and we could cheer her on, cause thats what happens when you go to karaoke with Kelly. Blaze was a little annoyed with our neighbors that evening and decided to cool them off with some PBR; very thoughtful of her, don't you think. They were very appreciative and decided to follow us outside to thank us repeatedly.

Anyway, next day... After kidnapping Liam, we scooted into Kelly's Vibrator and drove off to Bend. Up into the high desert we passed the time by reading Adam Mella's short story about Alex the Hooker and his bicycle journey across the USA a few years back. It is a great story that Adam adapted from Alex's journal. You might be able to read it here, if not, I couldn't get the link to work. Too bad. Wilco was playing at the Les Schwab Amphitheater, hence the need for a three hour car ride. Kent, Steph and their fine friend Mary-Chris Mas (yup, thats right-- say it again) joined us to the concert and kindly let us stink up the house they rented. Turns out that they brought two dogs there as well. Big ones. A Rottweiler and another named Bear-- I didn't make eye contact with either the entire time.

Back to Portland for The Avett Brothers. Whiskey drinking, gun slinging SOBs made me wish I wore a diaper, they rocked my ass off. We sat in the rain for three hours and it was well worth it. Shawn Mullins was the opener and I wonder how much he had to pay the Avett Brothers to do so. Even the newborn elephant was a little pissed off. Wet, thirsty and hungry, our crew rendezvoused at the Rogue Brewery to have some of the best beer I've ever had. Drink some today, you won't be disappointed. A stopover at a Portland past-time, Mary's (moms and dads might want to control this link), and this blogger was ready for sleep (in the cab ride home).

We finished the weekend speaking little and doing about as much, except for the world's best bookstore, Powell's. Go there, read a book. Flew back to Orcas with Scott and upon arriving PJ's car was dead. Turns out there is no need for satellite radio to play all weekend in a parked car. Who knew.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

OO 2008

In lieu of the upcoming Beijing Olympics, Orcas Island held its own Olympics today. With an unhampered torch ceremony and complete lack of protesters, the event was a smashing success-- Orcas-1, Beijing-0. Held at Matthew and Erin's land, which is adjacent to Maple Rock Farm, many of the island's finest attended and participated in many extremely specialized and difficult events: badminton, bocce ball, twister, egg toss, orange pass, boat race, limbo, suck & blow, and shirt swap.

Intermittent activities also included hula hoops, beer drinking, elbow tag, beer drinking, Monty Python and the Holy Grail tag (think of the stubborn knight who still tries to fight after losing his limbs), beer drinking, and an ultimate cage-free wrestling match between Alfred and Charlie and preparatory maneuvers for a new Land Rover commercial. Plus a little beer drinking. Alex brought a beautiful salmon to grill up and Anne made divine carrot cake cupcakes (alliteration- thank you Mr. Coppage). Plus, Kai donated a heap of gorgeous greens from Morningstar Farm.

The Jammers and the Whiffers battled it out in the grueling events and the games ended with a tie and both teams taking home the silver. (It turns out that a large group of smokers and drinkers are not quite as adept to suck & blow as they once were in their formative years- a half point was awarded to each team.) The gold was awarded to Lola, who won all events in the Special Olympics, she does have a neck brace dammit.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Ruffles and Granny

The orca whale is not a whale, it is the largest of the dolphin family. Fortunately that does not detract from the allure to witnessing the aquatic beasts in the wild. They still are magnificent creatures and almost wholly contribute to the livelihood of most of the denizens of the San Juan Islands, whether they will admit it or not. After six weeks of, "when are we going to see some whales?", Autumn and I finally got our chance through the graciousness of Beau Brandow and Outer Island Expeditions. We set out from Brandt's Landing on the north end of the Orcas Island and motored our way down Presidents Channel taking peaks at salmon, spotting out harbor porpoises, and gazing at seals on Flattop Island. A long deliberation ensued as to the gastronomical quality of a seal and ended in the answer of, "no". Moving along, we passed Spiden Island and sought out its population of exotic-four-legged-beasts. Rumor has it that early owners of the island, of which John Wayne is included, imported exotic game on to the island in order to expertly hunt after indulging in large quantities of their favorite libations. I hope it was PBR and Old Crow. None-the-less, Mouflon and European Roe deer can and will be seen on the island, we did so why can't you? Thank you John Wayne. Through Mosquito Pass, we finally reached Haro Strait, the separator of our land and Canadia, and the most likely place to see the worlds largest dolphin.

The southern resident whales that frequent the SJI are grouped into three different pods and many people have learned a lot about them and are probably smarter than me so look here. Our pheromones had attracted two top-notch orcas, Ruffles and Granny (J1 & J2), and they lingered by our boat begging us to take hundreds of crappy pictures and feel really good like the little boy in Free Willy.

And let me tell you, we've come a long way from yelling at Beau to go slow at the beginning of the summer to needing to go faster and faster all the time.