Tag Archives: travel

Eyecatchers: Fish & Bicycles’s New Look, Via Hans d’Hollosy

basscycle2My favorite memory from when I first started Fish & Bicycles, back in October 2009, was the outcome of my search for a photo or other image for the header of the blog.

All it took was typing “Fish & Bicycles” into Google Image Search and one of the results on the very first page is the lede image you see here in this post, a print titled Basscycle, by artist Holly Berry. It could not have been more perfect, and so I emailed Holly, asked her for her permission to use the image, and she graciously agreed.

Alas, several years later, I was starting to feel like it was time for a change of scenery here, so I started looking around, but nothing really grabbed me. My friend Tom was recently in Dublin, Ireland, on the tour of the Guiness Brewing facility, when he came across this awesomeness:

guiness-fish-bicyle

Unfortunately, due to my limited Photoshop skills, I was not able to edit it into anything useful. The space for the header in my blog’s theme is 1000×288 pixels, the Guiness fish on a bicycle is much closer to a square, and when I tried to stretch it, crop it, adjust the levels, apply filters and effects, sadly, nothing worked.

But, it seems there’s something about my friend Tom, because he was on the epic road trip I just returned from, and on our drive home we stopped for lunch in Eugene, Oregon and discovered this awesomeness:

mural

The mural, located on the east wall of 164 West Broadway, is the work of Hans d’Hollosy, a Eugene artist, and it is outrageous in all the best ways. More importantly, if you look close enough, you’ll see some fish and a bicycle just left of the center of the photo, and as I stood in that alley looking it over it became clear that this was exactly what I was looking for. I wasn’t sure whether or not I’d be able to edit it into a good 1000×288 pixel header, but I took some photos and couldn’t wait to try.

The result? The new Fish & Bicycles header!

fish-bicycles-header-final

Now, I’d like to point out that Hans d’Hollosy’s mural was not commissioned, and so he’s got a Kickstarter campaign set up to raise money for his work, which he reports is about 80% complete. I hope folks who come across this blog post will consider making a pledge to support this gift to the Eugene community and to all who pass through as I did. (You can learn more about the project and make a pledge here.)

In the meantime, I just can’t bear to do away with Holly Berry’s Basscycle, and so I’ve decided to leave it on my About page, and a snippet of it will continue to be visible in the site’s favicon and in the avatar I use, visible whenever I comment on a WordPress blog.

I hope you enjoy Fish & Bicycles new look!

AbaloneFest 2013: Back, But Not Really

ab

Me on the left, my friend Dennis on the right.

As I mentioned last week, I’ve just been gone on a 5-day road trip to camp, dive for abalone, and to revel around the campfire in that age-old male ritual.

And, while I might physically be back here in Bellingham, the rest of me has not caught up yet. After a combined 1,600 miles of driving, 34 hours on the road, VERY late nights, and sleeping in a tent in the cold, I feel weary to my bones…but filled with epic memories, the warmth of friendships, the gorgeous images of Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Hood, Mt. Shasta, the rolling countryside of Washington, Oregon, and California, the majestic redwood trees, and the rocky Pacific coast.

The weather was absolutely perfect, the water clear and filled with abundant sea life, the abalone plentiful and delicious, and the music around the fire fan-frickin’-tastic!

jam

Best of Fish & Bicycles: AbaloneFest 2011: Of Mollusks and Men

Originally Published: May 4, 2011


If you’d asked me a couple of years ago if I could ever see myself driving over 1,600 miles in one long weekend, from Bellingham, Washington to Mendocino, California and back, so that I could don a full-body wetsuit and snorkel gear and dive into the frigid springtime waters of the Pacific Ocean in search of food, more specifically a mollusk called abalone, that I’d never even seen much less consumed…

…well, I would have said, “That’s just crazy talk!”

And yet, here I am, a few days after having returned from that very adventure — AbaloneFest 2011 — and I can honestly report that it was, indeed, the very best variety of crazy.

A man needs a little madness, or else he never dares cut the rope and be free.

Zorba The Greek

Now, I’m not an adrenaline junkie. That’s right, I’m decidedly NOT one of those guys who feels more alive when I’m doing something that could badly injure or kill me. And yet, at the same time, I do occasionally think that I’m too careful, too addicted to my comfort zone, that I miss out on some fun things, and that I could do a lot of those fun things if I pushed myself a little, worked at those activities, to gain the skills and confidence I need in order to not be so scared of injury or death.

So, that freedom that Zorba talks about, maybe it’s a freedom from fear, maybe it’s that exhilarating feeling of having accomplished something for the first time, perhaps something that you’d never thought you could do.

Not everything about this trip presented risk to life and limb, of course. But being in a car for many, long hours and sleeping in a tent with nighttime temperatures in low 30s are not the most comfortable conditions, and the diving, well, it was scary, I did it anyway, and doing it made me feel alive in an exquisite way.

Middle-aged Man And The Sea

Continue reading

Out of Office: AbaloneFest 2013 Edition

diver

Me, at AbaloneFest 2011

Back in May 2011, I wrote two posts about a journey I took, a journey of discovery, of conquest, and of male bonding. (Post 1, Post 2)

That journey, a guy-only road trip to Mendocino, California to dive for abalone (aka: sea snails), camp, and jam on guitars around a fire was also known as AbaloneFest 2011, the 17th annual occurrence of the event, but my first time in attendance.

Sadly, I had to miss AbFest 2012, but, as you read this, I’m in a car with three Bellingham buddies, tearing down Interstate 5, en route to our first stop in southern Oregon, and then tomorrow our destination.

Needless to say, I could have done without reading this news just a few days ago (via Salon):

Three recreational abalone divers died in separate incidents over the weekend in Northern California, where powerful rip currents were reported…

Deaths from abalone diving are common during the recreational harvesting season. However, three in a single weekend was a shock, even to authorities…

Since the early 1990s, dozens of people have died in their quest to collect the prized sea snails. One diver was decapitated by a shark in Mendocino County in 2004.

I immediately emailed the article to my buddies, and the following exchange happened between me and one friend who happened to pass on going diving the last time:

Me: I might be hanging out with Tom on the beach this weekend.

Tom: Very important job, holding the beach down. I could use some help, thanks!

Me: I’m thinking we need a flask of something to sip on while we’re “holding the beach down.”


And so, I’ll be away from the interwebs at least until I return from AbFest 2013 on Monday, potentially longer if I do decide to dive and something bad happens.

In the meantime, as I’ve done the last few times I’ve been away from the blog, I’ll once again be featuring some older posts of mine, as part of my continuing Best Of Fish & Bicycles series. I’ve selected a post that will appear each day, and I’ll start later today by reposting my piece on AbaloneFest 2011.

Cheers!

Don’t Mix Reggae With Taxes: A Poem

reggaeDon’t Mix Reggae With Taxes

reggae
no worse music
in April
while doing one’s taxes.
a torturous cognitive dissonance
a juxtaposition of
lilting Caribbean rhythms
conjuring lush tropical beaches
jerk chicken, rice & beans
washed down with
ice cold Red Stripe beer
a big, fat spliff
and a psychedelic sunset
against
a ghastly spreadsheet
a blizzard of receipts
a puzzle of numbers
a labyrinth of bureaucratic mumbo jumbo.
nothing easy ’bout this skanking.

Portland Postscript: The Disgrace of Homelessness

Click to enlargeI had intended my post this morning, a photo I took while crossing the Burnside Bridge on foot, to be the last post related to my recent trip to Portland, Oregon.

But then, my blogging friend Naomi Baltuck (whose awesome blog, Writing Between The Lines, is very much worth checking out!), left the following comment on that post:

This is a gorgeous photo! I love the color and composition! Very artful.

I know. Sweet, and a wonderful compliment, right?

Truth is, I can’t, with a clear conscience, accept the compliment, because…the photo is a fraud.

You see, there’s nothing gorgeous, colorful, or artful about the fact that, just out of frame, several buildings down, there was a line of people two blocks long at the Portland Rescue Mission.

We’d been warned by a Portlander, at a streetcar stop on the south side of the Willamette River, that our plan to walk over the Burnside Bridge wasn’t the greatest, that there were several buses we could take across, that the neighborhood just on the other side of the bridge was, he said, “…unpleasant. Not unsafe. You won’t get mugged or anything. It’s just unpleasant.”

I had a feeling I knew what he was referring to. My wife and 15-year old son had seen numerous homeless people on our walking excursions throughout the city. But, nothing had prepared me for the sight of so many people lined up at the mission on a cold night, nearly a stone’s throw away from one of Portland’s proudest achievements, the Pearl District, a section of downtown that had once been a crumbling mess of urban industrial decay, transformed in the late 1990s into an upscale neighborhood of pricey restaurants, shops, and condominium complexes.

So, the Portlander we spoke to was right, it was unpleasant, but not for the reasons I’m almost certain he was hinting at.

There was nothing unpleasant about the people who were lined up at the mission.

No, the unpleasantness, for me, was that they served as a stark reminder that we continue to allow, in our country, 1% of the population to hoard unthinkable amounts of wealth, living in decadent luxury, while the middle class is shrinking, and poverty is on the rise.

It’s a national disgrace.

Here’s a photo taken outside of the Portland Rescue Mission…

portland-rescue-mission

…in the late 1940s, during the post-WWII economic boom.

So much has changed since then, but sadly, some things have stayed the same.

Portland Night

Portland-Night