Friday, July 22, 2005

Hot town, summer in the city

There's just so much I could potentially write about if only had I the will, energy and an adult sense of priorities. Work continues as normal, with little respite, but at least (by virtue of a site redesign project) I'm involved in the bits of my job I enjoy the most: interface design, information architecture, coding and generally mastering chaos rather than faux-surfing on an inexorable tide of pointlessness.

Rachel has recently mastered the arcane art of art of BitTorrenting which has augered the return of EastEnders to the Portland Metro area. It seems to have gone from bad to worse in my absence; some mentally disadvantaged cousin to Alfie Moon was careering around the set on the verge of a nervous breakdown, muttering "Salsa Night" under his breath in the ominious, distressed and melodramatic tones of a second-rate Jude Law (a phrase I never thought I'd use).

Meanwhile it's been toasty-hot here; mid-eighties at least every day, making it hard to sleep at night. Poor Conky Kitten - with all his excess fluff - seems to short-circuit in the hot weather, crying out in beaky anguish. Meanwhile, I have erected some rather tasteful patio furniture, a generous house-warming present from my parents. Soon they will discover quite how generous, when I send them the bill!

July 4th weekend was a lot of fun. Saturday night brought us to a karaoke bar in old town with one of Bart's many romantic interests. Suzie is a style-spotter for Nike and gets paid lots and lots of money for identifying fashion-trends in glamorous locations around the world. On the face of it, it sounds like the sort of thing anyone could do, and everyone would want to do, but I suspect there is rather more to it. Her market segement is apparently "metrosexual man" e.g. males 25-40 who live in an urban area and spend (any) time or money on their appearance. I was oddly flattered when Suzie suggested I was an example, probably by virtue of the fact that I wasn't wearing baggy-ass shorts, white socks and a plaid shirt like every other monkey in town.

That Sunday we got up at some ungodly time in the morning (esp. given the number of gin and tonics consumed the previous night) to take a family hike on Mount Hood. It was beautiful up there and, frankly, I needed the exercise. July 4th itself offered fireworks on Lake Oswego, which we observed mid-lake from the vantage of Leon's speedboat. More lifestyles of the rich and famous. As an aside for any potential revolutionaries out there, do attempt to culminate your insurgency in the winter months, thus ensuring the annual celebratory fireworks can be ignited at a reasonable hour. Guy Fawkes had the right idea; OK, so he got caught, but November was the ideal time to select in the Northern Hemisphere. With similar forethought, the Russians overthrew the Tsar in February, then had the decency to wait until October before resuming the festivities. The French, as we might expect, got it all wrong, storming the Bastille in July.

On the following Sunday we were blessed with a visit from Mr Philip Cooper and his lovely wife Nadia and her lovely brother Sami and his lovely friend whose name I forget. They had all just cycled the 200 miles from Seattle to Portland and both despite and because of this, looked very (almost unnaturally) healthy and vigorous. It was really lovely to see them again; of course we took them to No Fish! Go Fish! for a spot of lunch before they had to load up the SUV for the journey home. Those of you that have known me since school may remember my gloriously conceived "Vote Cooper, he's Super" electoral campaign of 1989. I was very much the young Karl Rove / Peter Mandelson, with but one small difference, and that difference being I lost. Or did I? I do not believe the vote count was ever revealed. In that respect (and not just that respect) Lewes Priory was somewhat more oppressive than Zimbabwe.

Philip Cooper - still super. This is after cycling 200 miles, by the way.

Tonight I'm going for a "boy's night out" with a retired Naval Officer, an active Colonel in the US Army, a Corporal in the Oregon National Guard and the Dean of Dentistry from the city's teaching hospital. To make matter's worse, three of these four people are actually family members. If this is my last post, you'll know what happenned.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Vacation Part Two

It seems I'm running rather a backlog at the moment, with no time to tell you of all the fun we had over the holiday weekend. Instead, however, part two of our road trip is illustrated below...

Day two took us from Ashland to Crater Lake, a wonder of the world, no less. You're looking into the collapsed rim of a vocano (called a caldera, geography fans). And yes, the water really is that blue - no photoshop necessary.

Rachel looks out over Wizard Island. Normally by June it's possible to take a boat trip out there, but sadly snow still blocked the Northern rim road this year.

C'est trés joli, n'est pas?

Rachel's ickle friend by the lake.

From the lake we drove down to Klamath Falls for the night. Like a lot of communities in Southern Oregon, it seems rather quiet for it's size, the glory days of chopping down everything in sight for a quick buck now sadly behind us. Still, they have a lovely spanking new courthouse, almost cerainly paid for in tourist speeding-ticket dollars if Rachel's experience is anything to go by. A gross injustice, she remarked. 84 in a 55 zone was how the state trooper put it, as I recall; fine doubled for a construction zone. $240, ker-ching!

Some deer spotted by the lava beds national monument in Northern California, Day Three. There are a great number of lava-tube caves around here for the keen sperlunker(?) but we were a bit short on time unfortunately.

What a loverley pair etc! The cones of the Ponderosa Pine, exhibited here by our Jason, are indeed quite enormous.

Rachel's expression says it all: boiling sulphurous gases emerging spontaneously from the earth, whilst a geological curiousity, are nevertheless somewhat unpleasant.

Snow, in June! Why yes, at Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Still to come in future episodes: the giant redwoods (for me, the highlight of the trip!) and tales of the Southern Oregon Coast.