Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Thursday, 29 October 2009

You Can't Keep the Wild Ones

Sarasota, Florida

Salmon fishing in Oregon is good. We cut though the cool fog on the Pacific Ocean for an hour or so, then catch our limit of six Coho salmon in a couple of hours. We can only keep the hatchery salmon with the clipped adipose fins. We throw the wild ones back.

The Oregon sand dunes extend for miles. The weather is very cool on the coast, even in July.

There seems to be a prevailing wind.

This is called Devil's Churn. You get some strange wave effects as the tide changes.

I have an appointment with the Veteran's Administration this morning. They will provide Mom with a pension to help pay for her care at the assisted living center. The application takes five or six months to grind though the bureaucracy. You have to be a combat veteran or a veteran's spouse to receive this assistance.

This seal is clapping for fish parts. He hangs around where the fishing boats clean fish for the customers.

The "feels like" temperature in Sarasota today will be over 100 degrees.



The Columbia River near where Lewis and Clark spent a dismal winter eating salmon until they were sick of it.

The Columbia a few hundred miles to the east of the ocean.

Sunset.







Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Along the Pacific Coast

Sarasota, Florida

Sometimes you feel like a Hobbit. Then you hear a bustle in a hedgerow. It's just a spring clean for the May Queen. This is a medium-sized redwood in the Ladybird Johnson grove. The human figure is 6 feet in height and approximately the same in girth.

These flowers grow in the dark redwood "groves". Sometimes they catch a sunbeam.

The California coast has lots of rocks.

In Oregon, driftwood takes on strange shapes.


This is a "Stellar's" Jay. Stellar also has some seals named after him.

We went out of our way to find some of Oregon's tidal pools.

It was worth the search.

The waves carve strange fin shapes facing the Pacific.

These birds like the safety of a rock face. The white stuff is bird dukey. (Sweetheart, I'd like to kiss you but your breath smells like dukey.)

I'm picking way too many pictures for Calendar candidates.



Tuesday, 27 October 2009

California in the Summertime

Sarasota, Florida

It's still hitting "feels like" numbers of 97F. here in Sarasota, due to the humidity.



We played doubles tennis last night. The mosquitoes are still fierce. Sometimes we would halt play for a few seconds when someone got one in the eye.



On November 1 the big pool should reopen after renovations and the bar should start serving at 11am again instead of 4pm.



Still going though the summer pictures, looking for calendar picks for 2010.



Mrs. Phred is off with her tennis pro again, working on her game. She takes two lessons a week and has a hard time getting up for the 8:30 appointments.



Sunday we took Mom for a picnic on Silver Lake and a walk on a trail along the Withlacootchee River. She seemed to enjoy it.



Where to go next summer. I'm not liking the price of euros very much. Maybe will just skip all that and head for Alaska again? Maybe not.



Oh Dear! More pictures than willingness to type drivel.


















Thursday, 22 October 2009

Death Valley

Calendar Nominations

I was leafing though the photo albums, looking for something special for the 2010 Firecloud Calendar.

When I got to the Death Valley stuff, I realized that at least one might rate the June cover page.

We drove though last June on the way to the California Redwoods,


The RV dash air-conditioner was kaput again, but the midday temperatures of 110 degrees did not bother us.
We saw some Chevy Volts out on a desert test drive. Actually, they were "mules" with the volt drive train in a Cavalier body.

The Death Valley National Park is a strange and oddly lovely place.

No Zombies here.

It's a worthless, blasted place except for the Borax.

Still, it has it's own strange beauty.

I drove 200 miles to see Mom today. We walked about two miles in a park and then had lunch at Chili's. We had tortillas soup and half a turkey sandwich. I ordered a margarita and they brought me two in accordance with their 24/7 happy hour policy.

גַּ֤ם כִּֽי־אֵלֵ֨ךְ בְּגֵ֪יא צַלְמָ֡וֶת לֹא־אִ֘ירָ֤א רָ֗ע כִּי־אַתָּ֥ה עִמָּדִ֑י שִׁבְטְךָ֥ וּ֝מִשְׁעַנְתֶּ֗ךָ הֵ֣מָּה יְנַֽחֲמֻֽנִי׃

Someone had blunder'd:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.



Wednesday, 21 October 2009

A Taste for Flesh

Zombieland, USA

The movie was a tremendous disappointment.

One might expect moviemakers to treat the subject of Zombies with respect and constant action.

Some of the great recent Zombie flicks would include "Dawn of the Dead" and "Legend" with Will Smith. Legend had a nice twist with supercharged Zombies rather than shambling corpses.

Zombieland was filled with many long, boring periods of nothing happening and the Zombies were not treated with respect. They were too easy to kill and the overlay of attempted humor was heavy-handed.

Bill Murray made a cameo appearance. but failed to add much to the movie. Woody Harrelson overplayed his role, which seemed to have echos of his "Natural Born Killers" masterpiece.

I have high hopes that the movie in making, "World War Z", will treat the Zombie population with the respect and fear to which they are entitled. Abberations like "Shawn of the Dead" and "Zombieland" are a disgrace to the genre.

The finale in an amusement park was extremely stupid. Why would any rational person turn on the lights in an amusement park and attract every Zombie within a two mile radius?

Anyway, I'm still sorting though the 2009 pixs for the magical 13 to make up the Firecloud Calendar. My SIL is now on the mailing list.

I think the reason I like Zombie movies so much is that they offer simple solutions in contrast to the complex problems we don't know how to deal with. What do we do with AIDs, poverty, Zombie banks, the recession, unemployment, global warming, peak oil or nuclear waste storage? No Idea. Zombies present simple problems...just shoot them in the head.

Zombies have a much shorter literary tradition than vampires or werewolves. Nevertheless, "American Werewolf in London" had some great music and visual effects.

My favorite horror movie of all time was "Jacob's Ladder" a truly frightening movie in which you never realized until the end that the images and experiences you were seeing were in the dying mind of a wounded Vietnam soldier given an experimental battlefield drug by the government.

In the event of an actual Zombie outbreak, my M1 Carbine and a machete would be useful and preferred tools. The local press will attempt to cover up a Zombie outbreak initially. The latest documented Zombie outbreak occured in 2003 in St. Thomas, but it was only a class-2 outbreak, easily controlled and extinguished by Homeland Security.


There are many simple things you can do to prepare for a Zombie outbreak. For example, I have in my Zombie kit a SCUBA wetsuit I can wear which is nearly bite proof as well as leather motorcycle gloves and a crash helmet with a visor. The important thing is to present as small a bite opportunity as possible.