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edge of the state

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Friday, February 26, 2010
I know, I know - more pictures. Some months are like that. These are from a spur of the moment "hey, do you want to go to the beach?" trip on the 15th. Just a few days later it was bright and sunny, but the great thing about the beach in Oregon (and everywhere) is that it's also beautiful when it's muted and misty.

roads end sign

FURTHER PROOF that state signmakers eschew the possessive apostrophe. Regardless, I think this is a very attractive sign. Yes, that is rain.

green grass, grey ocean

same view, just without the sign in it. (maybe a few steps further down the path.)

ocean birds

looking to the north - doesn't it look like a tall ship should come sailing around those rocks? With pirates on it! Tourist town pirates, so they'd have to go further south to Newport. Aaaaaaarrrrrr, we be visitin' yer giftshops and purchasin' yer salt water taffy.

rocks and the edge
See? The grey sky makes every other color like the green of the grass or the red of this dirt pop like crazy. Sunny blue skies are actually way harder to take pictures under. (although I appreciate them for other reasons!)

beach houses
I would take one of these beach houses in an instant if anyone has one they want to give away. Did you know that the entire Oregon beach/coastline is open to the public? It was, according to HISTORY and Wikipedia (although not just Wikipedia), " a piece of landmark legislation in the U.S. state of Oregon, passed by the 1967 session of the Oregon Legislature. It established public ownership of land along the Oregon Coast from the water up to sixteen vertical feet above the low tide mark." It is a lovely law, by the way. I'm paranoid about so many things - it's nice to not have to worry about being harassed for trespassing!

crow interlude

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Monday, February 22, 2010
mr. crow
Crows have been giving me a hard time lately. I don't know if it's PERSONAL or if it's just Sassy Time in the world of crows. (it's been really sunny lately which makes me feel a little sassy too, so maybe there's something to this theory.) At first I thought it was just the park crows (they are peculiar grudge holders), but then this parking garage crow started in on me so who knows.

mr. crow
to be fair, I'm not exactly fluent in bird language. Maybe what I thought was a strident telling-off was something like "does this pose work for you? Maybe if I moved my head a little bit? Try standing in the next parking spot, I think you'll get a better shot there." CROWS! Why must you be so mysterious? (don't ever change.)

no sheep in Shepperd's Dell

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Thursday, February 18, 2010
Shepperd's Dell is home to one of the first waterfalls along the historic Columbia River Gorge Highway. THERE ARE NO SHEEP. For all the years I've driven by without stopping, I always had a vague notion of bo-peep, sheep, and a sign maker who can't spell. This notion is not even a little bit correct unless maybe a person isn't permitted to see the infamous waterfall sheep until the seventh visit or some other complicated rule of waterfalls. (I'm noticing a theme lately where I'm paranoid about complicated rules I'm not privy to due to not being a waterfall or a werewolf or whatever. INTERESTING.)

Unlike some of the bigger falls down the way, the waterfall itself isn't visible from the road - there's no parking lot, just a kind of wide spot just beyond or just before depending on if you're going east or west. (We were going east.) It's easy to miss. If you've driven by and never stopped, don't feel like you've missed some obvious thing. For one, the road itself is very beautiful and it's easy to be distracted by the stonework or the ferns and forest or the flickering glimpses of the Columbia river through the trees. But now you know! I'm telling you: you must stop in the little wide spot in the road and you have to go down the twisty path if you are able because it's worth it.

Here's a little photo tour - this was a sunny, winter day. It would look so different in the summer! (I intend to investigate.) These pictures are kinda blown out, for which I apologize. Nothing was turning out like I wanted which I assumed was because the sun was so bright, but was because I'd accidentally changed my exposure setting. I'm too lazy to fix them in photoshop, but I think you get the basic idea. Just picture everything about 18% greener.

the bridge
This may be my favorite picture from this stop! I like the hazy pink and I love this bridge so much! You don't even know all of those graceful arches are there when you're zooming across the top.

pathway to the waterfall
!!! The path isn't actually very long and the park isn't really very big, but you get good value! This is what the wending path to the waterfall looks like after you round the first bend.

to the left
Okay - here I'm standing at about the point of that first leftward leaning curve in the path - this is looking left. Since the exposure is wonky it's harder to make out, but there's a tall rock wall, lots of moss, trees, and ferns. It's also really loud. Not road noise or river noise, but the pleasant white noise of a waterfall.

to the right
This is what's on the other side of the path from the previous picture, looking to the right. (!!!)

A short walk brings you to this. There are more dramatic waterfalls just down the road, but this one is such a treat! A lovely surprise for the cost of curiosity and actually getting out of the car.

below - a 31 second video clip with thrilling waterfall action:

state park challenge

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010
bridge silhouette
this last year for Christmas, my sister gave me (and others) a wonderfully thoughtful, interactive gift: a year long state park contest! She made a zine that included maps and a checklist for every major state park in Oregon; the challenge is to fill in as many as possible during calendar 2010. Whoever gets the most wins a prize - although none of us know what the prize will be. (It hardly matters, although if I win it had better be a good one!) Proof is a picture of yourself with the park sign visible in the picture. It's great not only because it provides a reason to go somewhere on itchy feet/ ants in pants days, but also because it makes me more aware of the abundant beauty all around. A couple of weeks ago the three of us (me, sister, mom) went up the gorge a little way and checked off three or four parks - the Columbia river gorge is lousy with state parks because it is so incredibly beautiful that the EARTH WOULD CRY if it was covered with truck stops instead of hiking paths and signs telling you not to eat the mushrooms. Anyway, I finally got my pictures uploaded - this is a teaser picture for Shepperd's Dell, a spot I have driven by countless times but only stopped at twice - more from there tomorrow!

year of the tiger

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Lunar New Year!! I keep thinking of EYE of the Tiger every time I see the YEAR of the Tiger and they are totally different things. (I hope! if the year of the tiger means everyone has to walk around Survivor-tough in berets and mullets, I'm against it!) The good part of the year of the tiger is that it reminded me of a series of stories I wrote in the 3rd grade about a gigantic bengal tiger named Marcus with whom I had many international adventures (largely on islands) where we would kick ass and take names, and then get away on a speed boat. (I lived in Florida. It made perfect sense.) I wonder if I could find those anywhere? I know he featured prominently in my schoolwork for as long as I could get away with it. (Including art class.)

In other news of the day, I opened a new package of diet coke this morning and found one of these! How cute is this? (answer: unspeakably.) I was looking at it and thinking "hmmm, that little guy looks familiar" and managed to work out that it was done by Tom Gauld , whose work I first came to through his most excellent Characters for an Epic Tale illustration.

here's another picture of the can - I took both this and the one before with the photo booth program on my laptop - first with the "comic book" effect, and this one they call "glow" but what I think they really mean is "will apply vaseline lens/heavy eyeliner effect." The reflection on the can sort of makes it look like the little guy is pushing someone off the heart, or maybe the other one is sneaking up on him. Marcus wouldn't have any trouble sorting this out, that's for sure.

confetti cannon enthusiast

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Thursday, February 11, 2010
There is someone howling like a very large dog somewhere down the street and a bunch of drunk people talking on the sidewalk somewhere closer up the street. New moon werewolf? 3% early according to my google moon phase widget. Maybe the new moon werewolf is has a more relaxed wolfing schedule than the full moon variety? I don't know! Supernatural things with all their complicated rules and regulations are confusing. But now the howling has stopped AND the drunk people have shut up. Maybe the new moon werewolf ate them all. (quietly.)

(Is New Moon the name of the most recent Twilight movie that had a werewolf in the commercial? It all makes sense to me now! Just like those Twilight sparkly people/vampires can go out if it's overcast, maybe their werewolf can eat the Loud Talking Inebriated with only 3% of the moon showing. Okay, it really doesn't make sense to me now, but I have a feeling that thinking about it further will do nothing to correct this.)

And now for something completely different:

[side note: I've noticed that lately my blog posts come in three varieties: 1) photo post 2) list post 3) videos, but with something completely unrelated above it. This particular post is a #3. I promise to work on expanding my repertoire.]

It should be noted that both of these videos make me happy! And that's not nothing:

This is from 2006 but I saw it for the first time tonight. I was laughing all along, but really got going at around the :33 mark.

THIS ONE! I love how it is so creative with limited resources: some colored tape, an alley, a target, a rail thing (what do you call those?), colorful pennants, lots of manic energy, imagination, the song, the band, and of course CONFETTI CANNONS.

portland winter fact check

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Tuesday, February 09, 2010
Here are some pictures I took the other day at the park. (The day with the Junior Bicycle Puddle Splashing Champion: under six division.) Something yellow is blooming! or starting to bloom. I'm not sure what this is, apart from a) yellow b) blooming (or almost blooming) c) on a tree.

raarrrr! This one looks kind of lobstery/crawfishy to me. But still a tree.

triple silhouette
These three are gossiping about all the other trees. I was going to write that if they had eyes, they'd be shifting them, but they DO have eyes, I just didn't take pictures of them because they kind of weird me out.

cherry tree
ta-dah! I think this must be one of the earliest blooming cherry/plum trees in the city. I love how when they just start to bloom it looks like someone's strung popcorn on the tree. It's been a fairly warm, mild winter, but this is bananas. (and pretty.)

early blossoms
see what I mean about pretty?


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Tuesday, February 09, 2010
title wave

I've spent the last week plus picking up, dusting off and determining the fate of EVERY BOOK I OWN, which takes a long time. I was able to pinpoint the source of my troubles as I sorted - it was that den of temptation, The Title Wave Bookstore. (pictured above.) It's a great old Carnegie building that used to be a branch library and is now where the library sells books weeded from its collection. DANGER! Especially since I was a regular customer when they first opened and everything was even more ridiculously inexpensive. There was a period of several years when I used the Title Wave like I use the library now - if it looked interesting, I'd drag it home. This netted some really fantastic old history and art books, but also a lot of shelf-filling stuff that has not stood the test of time. (mostly paperback mysteries from authors I never really liked but they were a quarter and I didn't have the internet and I needed to read something.) Ruthlessness is called for! I have four outgoing piles:

1) try to sell to Powell's . I've never actually sold them books before! But I did a little research and discovered that if you take store credit, you get 20% more. I don't know if they'll take what I've got, but if they don't, that's okay because I'll just donate it to…

2) Friends of the Library: This organization has two big annual sales and lord knows I've been to a lot of them. I know all the good stuff is usually gone early, but I have weirdo things I look for like poetry and now Martha Grimes in hardback. (she's written a lot, so it's still pretty easy for me to find at least one thing I don't already have.)

3) Paperback Exchange: Every library location has a section with what we call "bring 'em backs" - they have no barcode and circulate on the honor system. They're mostly mass market paperbacks (mysteries, thrillers, romance) but occasionally there'll be something different. They're all donated from the community. Since what I'm getting rid of is primarily paperback mysteries, most will fit into this category. (Powell's doesn't buy a lot of mass market paperbacks, so I'm not even going to try.)

4) Recycle Bin: some of these books are falling apart and if I donated them anywhere, they'd get chucked out. At least this way I know they'll get put in the right bin!

For all of that piling and tossing and donating, there's still room for indulgences - I kept a group of mysteries that featured a particularly stupid detective inspector but he happened to have really great covers. (is that shallow? I guess I'm shallow.) Several years ago I never would have believed it, but this weeding process has been very positive - I let go of stuff I didn't want and made room for things I DO WANT. Now to carry this method over to other areas of my life!

moving books around
-from midway through the new shelves and sorting progress. Piles in front of shelves. I think I kept about 95% of everything you see here, more or less. It was the double stacked paperbacks BEHIND those paperbacks on the shelf that got the chop. It's all in completely different order now, though. There's still some double stacking going on.

nine coaches waiting
I think I found this at the Friends sale - it's from the cover of an early 60s paperback of Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart. Doesn't she look like a plucky young governess? ha ha ha! More like an early Dynasty Krystal Carrington, but I love her still.

blue sky test

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Friday, February 05, 2010

blue sky, originally uploaded by jensect.

I'm testing out some new flickr setting thing, and I thought I'd do it with this picture from the other day.

things of today:

1) the new burgerville Yukon & White Bean Basil Burger is SO GOOD.
here's what's in it: made from locally sourced great northern beans, mushrooms, brown rice, onions, oats, sun-dried tomatoes, molasses, herbs and Yukon gold potatoes. It was topped with basil mayonnaise, tomatoes and leaf lettuce and served on a nine-grain bun. I would eat another one right now if it magically appeared before me.

2) the Columbia River gorge is absurdly beautiful. It looks painting-fake every stinking time I see it.

3) I'm stalled on every single project I'm working on, unless it involves Yukon & white bean burgers and/or miniature road trips.

4) but maybe stalled isn't the right word. Maybe it's more of a lull in order to reassess. yeah! that sounds a lot better.

5) 5 minutes to midnight, so I'm going to hit the post entry button and we'll see how this test goes. (I don't know why, but I like to get things up or at least get a posting window up before midnight. It's some unexamined calendar preference, I guess. Why should it matter if the post says 2:36 AM or 11:54 PM? Actually, I can think of a couple of reasons, but now is not the time! I've only got a couple minutes left.

6) Gorge pictures soon, or I'll eat my hat or forsake a future Yukon & White Bean burger. ( so good you guys!)

EDIT: well, that's interesting! it's no longer a little tiny picture (like flickr used to do), but it's got a black border around it. Hmm. I think this method is most convenient when there's only one picture to publish.

groundhog videos

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Tuesday, February 02, 2010
LOST! I missed how you used to make me crazy in more than one reality. It's good to have you and your fast talking, no-sense making, lots of room for interpretation ways back on TV where you belong. (doesn't it seem weirdly appropriate to have Lost come back on Groundhog Day?) I can't wait to read all the theories about the new hippie temple tomorrow. Let us all remember the timeless advice of Jack Donaghy: "Never follow a hippie to a second location."

I'm actually in some kind of weird time warp myself these last couple of weeks. It's like time has stopped moving forward and I'm stuck in some tuesday from the past. I'm going to try two things: 1) ignore it and hope the flow of time returns to normal soon. 2) if that doesn't work, I plan on going completely crazy and start making time capsules, sending messages in bottles, making hologram video pleas for help and putting them in robots, leaving notes to my future/past self in books. Nothing fancy, just the usual.


Lucky Soul - White Russian Doll HD from Ruffa Lane on Vimeo.

This is so fun! I can't remember where I saw it first (best guess: MBV), but I've been meaning to post it for weeks. This video was shot on the run in Berlin - no permits, no fancy sets or costumes, just out in the city making a little movie. I always think that kind of thing sounds so sneaky, fun and adventurous! If you like it, be sure to click on the link to see it bigger on Vimeo.

a bonus video for fans of She & Him and/or (500) Days of Summer and/or musicals and/or dapper bank robberies. I seem to remember reading an interview with the director of the movie (he also directed this video) who said Zooey D. was disappointed that they'd done a big musical number in the movie without her, so they came up with this so she and JGL could have a song and dance together. It's so charming! I like them both very much - they have such good chemistry.