Squalicum Harbor Sunset

squalicum harbor

Reason #258 Why I Love Bellingham: Elf Karate

Little known fact: J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, was a martial arts practitioner, and in 1967, still obsessed with the world of Middle Earth he’d created for his books, he traveled to Bellingham, Washington, where he’d heard his books had a cult following, and there he founded his own, very specialized school of Karate.

elf-karate

Vinyl Records Are Magic!

recordplayerWAY back in December 2009, in a post titled Nostalgia: Vinyl Records Edition, I wrote about a trip with my son to a local eatery, an eatery known as much for their Russian dumplings as they are for the record player and vast vinyl record collection they have in the main seating area, available for use by customers.

In that post, and in a subsequent follow-up titled Vinyl Update, a year later, I described how my son, 12-13 years old at the time, discovered the joy — dare I say magic? — of vinyl records at that restaurant, and then at home, when I purchased a used turntable and dusted off my collection of 200 or so LPs.

Well, it seems I’m not alone in finding vinyl record technology to be magical.

Casey Chan, over at Gizmodo.com, in a post yesterday on this subject, wrote:

I don’t care that I supposedly understand how vinyl records work because I still totally think they’re the work of at least some low level sorcery. Trapping sound and music and voices? Come on!

Sorcery indeed! I mean, just look at this GIF footage of a record player’s stylus traveling through the groove in a vinyl record, as seen through an electron microscope:

vinyl-at-work

What the what?! That makes music come out of a speaker, filled with instruments and voices, melodies and rhythms?

That’s some crazy magic!

Casey also includes a 9+ minute video that explains how the footage was shot and how vinyl record technology works, you can watch it if you want, but I chose not to, agreeing with Gizmodo reader JoshMC in the comments section:

Don’t anyone try and explain it, it’s all magic to me. Dark sorcery? Yeah…

Bellingham Bay Sunset

  

Lost & Found Dog & The Silliness Of Fighting Sentimentalism

zuki-paddenOver the past three years, I’ve posted an occasional photo of my dog Zuki to the Photoblog section here at Fish & Bicycles.

But one only has to spend a small amount of time surfing the millions of blogs on the interwebs to discover that there are people out there who seem to be far, FAR more into their dogs than I am, posting photos many times a week, of their canines doing every single thing you can imagine, as well as some things you’d like not to imagine, accompanied by reflections, observations, and aphorisms, dripping with sentimentalism.

Me: 9 photos posted in three years, mostly because, well, Zuki IS rather photogenic.

But does that really mean that I’m not THAT into my dog?

On Saturday, May 16th, as I’ve mentioned, my wife and I took off for a week-long vacation, for the first time not accompanied by our son, now 17-years of age.

On Friday, May 22nd, the day before we returned home, Zuki, who has a funny loose wire in the noggin, causing her to occasionally bolt away if she doesn’t have solid eye contact with either my wife, my son, or me, took off from a downtown location, only 2-3 miles from our home, but a 2-3 miles she’d never covered on foot before, on or off leash, a 2-3 miles that required crossing over or under Interstate 5 and several VERY busy surface streets.

The Humane Society was contacted daily, ads placed on Craigslist, posts posted to Facebook, streets, alleys, trails searched in as big of a radius as we could manage, a trail of urine and water solution sprayed from our house to the location where she was last seen, the needle eluding us in the haystack, dreams and nightmares invading sleep, thoughts of Zuki preventing sleep, late night departures from bed to check to see if, by some miracle, she had found her way home…

Eight days and nights elapsed, my wife finally had her biggest cry, coming to grips with the possibility that Zuki could be gone for good and that she could be lost, injured and in great distress, or dead, and then, at 4am, after waking from the latest of my dreams of Zuki’s return, I heard what sounded like a faint whine, I arose from bed and walked out into the house, gazed at the first glass door that, every night prior, had revealed nothing, but this time, there she was…

And when she spotted me in return, she bolted to the closer door, the front door to my left, I opened it, and she sped past me, running directly to our bedroom, where her dog bed sits at the foot of our human bed. My wife awoke and asked if it was the cat, I said no, it was Zuki, and in a wave of emotion, tears of joy and relief, Zuki was enveloped back into the family.

I never had a big cry, but I was very sad the whole week she was missing, my sleep was disturbed, I couldn’t imagine life without Zuki, nor replacing her. To say that I’m just not that into my dog is a lie. It’s just the silly, fairly common, though by no means universal, result of male conditioning, where it’s not considered macho or cool to get all mushy and sentimental over a dog.

So, I declare this day, that I am deeply grateful that Zuki miraculously found her way home, grateful that, while clearly shaken up, she survived the ordeal without any injury.

And I offcially embrace and declare my sentimental feelings for my dog, a true and beloved member of the family. 

Zuki, please, don’t run away again. Ok?

zuki-home

Reason #257 Why I Love Bellingham: Annual Naked Bike Ride

NakedBikeRide-page-001There are MANY reasons why I love my adopted hometown of 20+ years, Bellingham, Washington, and the annual Naked Bike Ride is certainly one of them.

The World Naked Bike Ride is a global event with an interesting dual message, promoting: 1.) cycling for the good of the planet; 2.) body-positive values. Riders in the clothing-optional event display varying levels of skin, based on personal preference, and that skin is often painted. Skin not on display is covered with eye-catching, outlandish costume and accessories.

No, I’ve never participated in the ride myself, and I’ve never even consciously sought it out as a spectator. BUTT, pun intended, many a time I just happened to be downtown when the glorious parade of naked weirdness just happened to pass by.

I am simply happy that I live in a town with people who support and participate in events like this; creative acts of expression, silly, fun, and with an aim to make the world a better place.

Fish & Bicycles Is Back!

Vacation in southern Nevada and Utah was awesome, and I hope folks enjoyed the photos I was able to post while I was on the road.

Needless to say, there was much to photograph in the canyonlands that my wife and I visited throughout the week, I’ve got one more for you today, from just west of Zion National Park, and followed by that, since we were still in peak hiking habit upon our return, and I was so pleased to see water and greenery after so long in the desert, a snapshot from the Chuckanut Ridge Trail, overlooking the Salish Sea and the San Juan Islands, just a few miles from our home.

zion-ish-1

Salish Sea