Sunday, July 27, 2008

Professor Chaos

It must have been around the time of Ethan's second birthday that he became known less as "Pooh Bear" and more as "Professor Chaos." Although every bit as charming as ever, his inner rascal manifests with increasing regularity, performing his crayon 'art' on every conceivable surface, running in the opposite direction when called, turning on the stove or, more embarrassingly, pulling other children's hair. The latter has tested my diplomatic skills to their limit following his various contretemps at the local playgrounds; with my haircut and accent their first assumption is that I am training him to become some form of "soccer hooligan," one of the many aspects of British culture to have permeated the American psyche, along with bowler hats, BSE and tea with the Queen. A stiff talking to and a trip to the naughty step seem only to egg him on unfortunately; we are at something of a loss, although others assure us that it is a 'phase'. For the most part, however, Professor Chaos remains delightful company.

For Ethan's birthday I arranged a trip aboard Thomas the Tank Engine at Mount Hood Railroad. Although well intentioned, this was not all that I had hoped it would be; sticking a fake Thomas engine on the front of a diesel train and a set of carriages that make the dilapidated Hastings - Ashford rolling stock look like the Orient Express is not what the Rev Awdry had in mind. It did not help matters that it must have been 100°F that day. Poor Pooh Bear!

Ethan's birthday cake - in fact an ice-cream cake which I selected for him at Baskin Robbins. Much enjoyed by all concerned.

'Twas the Fourth of July and a flotilla of little boats crossed Lake Oswego afore the fireworks.

Rachel and my feet at the fore of Leon's boat one evening... Here follow a couple more long exposure shots from the lake...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Messrs Bailey & Lyle

We were delighted to receive Messrs Bailey & Lyle last month. They arrived one Thursday evening in a gleaming pistachio people carrier, fresh from adventures in California, and we enjoyed their company whilst they grimly suffered ours for five days, before we bid them farewell in the sand dunes south of Florence. The Simons are terrific sports and we heartily recommend them as travelling companions both individually and as a collective. We could do with more civilised company in these parts, for it's own sake but also as an excuse to get out and enjoy all the wonderful places around us that otherwise pass us by. Here follows a small collection of photos from their visit; the full set can be found here. My only regret is that we did not have an opportunity to visit Tony Starlight's Supper Club. Still, there's always next time.

Up a certain creek.

The lower punchbowl falls, as viewed from midstream with extremely cold feet.

Simon Bailey poses besides Tunnel Falls, the turnaround point for this 12 mile hike.

A deer. I actually photographed a wild deer. Next stop National Geographic!

Meanwhile, at the beach, pelicans!

And a sea-lion taking a nap in Newport Harbor.

Simon Lyle photographs the bridge at across Yaquina Bay.

Mr Lyle flies a kite whilst My Bailey instructs Ethan in the science of sandcastle engineering.

A fun-times-at-the-beach montage!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Richmond, VA

Mid June saw me whisked away - grumbling, as usual - to Richmond, Virginia for the company's annual retreat. I had very low expectations for the jaunt, other than the hope of catching up on some well-earned sleep, and was confounded on both accounts by both thoroughly enjoying myself and hardly sleeping at all. The last night saw a few of us sneak off campus for a bit of impromptu "bar hopping"... we kicked off at a self-styled English Pub called Penny Lane where the barman addressed me as "mate." In the hopes of finding something more authentic we followed our CFO - and Richmond native - elsewhere, only to be led to a raucous student joint, the likes of which I had gladly avoided for the previous ten years. In the hopes of finding something more soigné, we decamped for a French bar which we could not find. This, it turns out, was because it was an Irish bar - a very self-consciously Irish bar. Somehow the accent in its Gaelic name, Siné, was construed by our leader as denotative of Gallic provenance. More drinks followed; there is I believe some photographic evidence somewhere of karaoke, perhaps some pogo dancing, it's all a little bit of a blur.

In addition to my dignity, a further causality of the evening's excesses was my driving license, which put me in something of a pickle for getting home; I had to board a flight that afternoon and had no other form of photographic ID in my possession. Fortunately, Richmond's finest came to my rescue and, following a predictable round of attempted buck-passing and hedging at Precinct 4, an officer took pity on me and wrote up a police report of my loss, which was all the airline and airport security needed to let me board; although, that said, my person and carry-on was given a bit more than the usual going over. Indeed, I even had time to spare that afternoon to visit the home of Jefferson Davis, who you will remember as the one and only President of the Confederate States of America. Richmond was in fact the capital of the CSA, an honour transferred from Montgomery, Alabama as part of the quid pro quo for Virginia's secession.