Thursday, August 30, 2012

"Double Down" is my single least-favorite phrase right now

Attention: Next Person To Write That Anyone Is "Doubling Down" On Anything:

If I see you writing that, I'm gonna hurt you. I'm gonna hurt you worse if you're writing about a politician doubling down on something. I'm gonna hurt you extra super bad if I see you writing that in a headline on something I'm going to read on the internet.

I've slowly been kindling dislike for this dumbass-term d'jour, and now it's in a full roar of blazing sick-of-it.

Knock it off.

It's OK on the blackjack table, nowhere else.

Add this to the list of fine phrases ruined by you people. That list includes synchronicity, a perfectly good made-up word by Buckminster Fuller that was kidnapped and turned into a monster that I now want to drive a wooden stake into.

I don't even want to call up the list of others. Just stop.

Monday, August 20, 2012

For Sail or Trade

I've given up on restoration plans for the sailboat. It pains me to say that, but this list of things to do has got to get shorter and the only way I see that happening is to scratch things off by giving up on them, because accomplishing things sure doesn't seem to happen.

So. This 1970-something, I think, Reinell sailboat is looking for a good home. Or a bad home. I don't care. Do whatever you want.

It's got an issue or two. Not the prettiest boat in the fleet. But it has strong points too. Like the trailer. The trailer is worth some bucks. Well, the sails are in good condition too. They're pretty spiffy. But it needs some TLC on the inside. And out.

Affordable. It's got that going for it.

I'll get some more details up, or put it on craigslist one of these days. But in the meantime if you're looking for your Black Pearl and you're on a budget, this might be your ship.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Helpful Contest: Verizon 0, Little Baby 1

My phone did this.

I know, I know, owning a flip phone wasn't going to get me invited to the big dance. But voices came in and out of it and it told me the time and we lived a happy life together. Just one day at a time. I won't say we had love, me and my flip phone. But it was . . . it was something like it.

Then, suddenly, she's lying there in my arms, broken in two. O, how I wept.

So I went to Verizon and said, hey, I'm going to get the new iphone when it comes out because I hear it will be magic, so how about you loan me some old phone you've got laying around until then.

Verizon furrowed its brow and clucked its tongue and looked embarrassed for me and shook its head, no. A thousand and one times no.

Uhm . . . I hate to admit this, but back in the day I was forced to dabble in the cell phone sales-sphere. And loaning old phones in cases like this was pretty standard.

I understand Verizon not wanting to hand out phones for free. I get that. And they get money from me every month, which I've been thinking of giving to some other company.

Malia, my friend Dave's daughter, is somewhere in the one-year old demographic and plays with her grandma Linda's old cell phone – which is Verizon, and is an awesome shade of pink.

There are other factors, but hear this, Verizon: had this infant not loaned me her toy phone, I may have jumped ship and gone with another carrier.

My customer loyalty hinges on the fact that you get better service out in the woods and if I ever give myself a flesh wound with an errant swipe of the chainsaw, then your expensive service might be worth it.

But I don't know. Now you've got me stealing toys from kids. This might be too far.


Just got this from Verizon.

Loyalty discount. Good one, Verizon.

Or, I could go with Baby Malia's wireless service, even if it just involves a network of Speak & Spells and baby monitors.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Flamed Hobbesmobile

My ibook keeled over and died on me some years back. Terminal harddrive failure, or I'd pissed off Steve Jobs or I don't know.

Got the data back, though, thanks to Travis at Wallowa Valley Net. Thanks, Travis.

So in the photo archives, first thing I saw was the Hobbesmobile. Named for what I always thought was a striking resemblance to the family car in Calvin & Hobbes. Observe. Their car.

And my car. Pretty much the same model.

Except for the obvious upgrades like that super-sweet custom flame job I painted. Daaaang.

And the super-custom twig grill with Copenhagen lid emblem. Can't order that out of JC Whitney. Inspired by original grill being stolen by the deer that crashed into it on Hurricane Creek Road.

While we're on the topic of these wheels, I'd like to thank the universe and Gary Wishart for this automobile. Gary called it the "Costanza," a fitting name for this Nissan Stanza.

So I got a job years ago that required a heap of travel. I thought, well, the '66 Ford is appealing to the eye and all, but may not be the finest choice for interstate travel anymore. If only I could find a vehicle for basically no money that gets good gas mileage. . . . and pretty much before I could finish listing what I was looking for, ran into Gary who asked if I knew anybody who wanted a pretty good car for $400 bucks.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

15 Centimeter Platform Dive – 3-year old Division

The 2012 Hotel Pool Olympics gold medalist for Pool Jumping-Into goes to young Anna Crawford of Eugene, Oregon. The young diver is relatively new to the sport, and pretty much everything else, as she just turned 3 years old.

Anna stunned the crowd at the Seven Feathers Aquatic Olympics Center with her enthusiastic style and seemingly-endless energy for jumping into the water over and over again.

Anna's coaching and training staff of Mom, Dad, sister Claire, Grandma and Grandpa, Auntie Jenn, uncles Erik and Jon, niece Emma and nephews Jacob and Joe were all delighted with her performance, overheard offering encouragement during the event such as, "Good one, Anna" and "OK, one more time."

In a controversial decision, Anna was also awarded the silver and bronze medals, as the judges decided the other kids in the pool who were strangers weren't nearly as cute.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Eating the Scenery

 Furthermore Chieftain column, August 2012

It’s a shame I can’t talk myself into living somewhere crowded or ugly, where the odds would be much better for making big piles of money. I prefer the big mountains, trees and pretty stuff out here over big paychecks. It may not do much for my financial bottom line, but there’s another sort of bottom line and sometimes you’ve got to choose.

 People say you can’t eat the scenery. That’s supposed to be a reason to leave somewhere you like to move somewhere you don’t. Well, I’ve got a cookbook in the works that should put this can’t-eat-the-scenery argument to rest. I might even throw in a recipe or two for heavily populated areas, where there’s no scenery to be concerned about eating but the air is so thick you have to chew it first to get it down.

To eat the scenery in Wallowa County you will need one large mixing bowl, a pair of hiking boots, a dull kitchen knife from Soroptomist, a cutting board made from barnwood at least 80 years old, spices, whisk and an old iron skillet you got from someone you like.

 Allow plenty of time to gather ingredients for your scenery, because just like the grocery aisles in Wallowa County you will likely run into friends while shopping. Visiting with these people will take a while. Don’t rush it. This is the marinade. It’s part of the process. For spicy dishes, try talking about wolves or something to add some heat.

One of my favorite scenery dishes for special occasions is a nice batch of Zumwalt camas cakes with wildflower skewers over a bed of whole grain Hells Canyon. There’s a lot of flavors going on in this one, so don’t overdo it. Too much Hells Canyon can overpower the subtle textures of Zumwalt essence.

 For breakfast, you can’t go far wrong with a Ruby Peak frittata and a side of sesame scree, then add a dollop of Ice Lake snowfield. To sweeten it up, run a drizzle of mountain meadow syrup over the top. Any mountain meadow will do, but I get mine from the aspen grove up by Aneroid.

Chesnimnus hawthorn meat cakes are a stout hearty meal in the fall or winter. Sprinkle on a handful of habanero Hurricane Creek pine nuts, best gathered during a stroll up to Slick Rock on a nice day with a happy dog.

Many of these recipes are seasoned with an all-around spice I’ve developed that includes equal portions of Upper Imnaha, finely ground Bowlby stone, Tick Hill at sunset, Loop Road tamarack, Mount Joseph avalanche chute and pepper. It really brings out the flavors.

 The dessert chapter of the Wallowa County Scenery Cookbook includes Hat Point Road Crispies, Candied Lostine Canyon Fritters, Floating On Your Back in Wallowa Lake in August Bars and Lemon Rattlesnake Grade Sherbert.

It’s been slow going trying to finish this cookbook. One problem is the view out the window of my writing cabin requires a lot of looking at. Then rivers need to be floated, sundowns demand attention and walks need to be taken. City sidewalks are direct, but sidewalks out here can mean you end up meandering off to the side of whatever trail you intended to take. It’s all very time consuming. But if you do it right, the time it takes gives something back. A balanced diet is important.

I’ll get this cookbook done one of these days and hand a copy to anyone who tells me you can’t eat the scenery. The real problem with Wallowa County scenery isn’t whether you can eat it or not, it’s still being hungry for more. So remember to mix in your morels, venison, huckleberries, steelhead and whatever else with where you got them, stir, let simmer and enjoy. Bon appetit.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Mighty Roar of the Ever-Polite Evinrude

Some weeks back my pal Kristy Athens toodled through the Wallowas on her book tour for Get Your Pitchfork On! The Real Dirt on Country Living which, let it be known, is more than the real dirt, it's the peat moss and the Miracle Gro and quite simply an indispensable guidebook that you should not venture out of a city limit without.

I promised her a fun-filled boating excursion on the healing waters of Wallowa Lake and instead the blankety motor wouldn't run so we bobbed around and ate cherries. It looked like this –

Have you checked the viscosity?

Not all bad, eating cherries. But there was a noticeable lack of the wind whipping through our hair as we sported across the picturesque lake.

Well, no more.

Here is proof positive that the S.S. Rombach is back on it's sea legs.