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[photos] Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center

Yesterday, I went with [info]tillyjane (a/k/a my mom) out to Skamania County, Washington, to the Skamania Lodge and the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center. We went mostly to look at the big machinery out there, because that’s one of my things. Lunch at the Lodge came first, but we spent most of our time at the Interpretive Center.

It was awesome to spend a free afternoon with my mother. Her recent health issues have settled well, and we had a lot to talk about. Plus the day was beyond gorgeous, perfect for cruising top down in the Genre car.


[personal] The fine art of doing nothing

I’m really, really bad at doing nothing.

Most of my vacations are working vacations in some important sense. Well, okay, pretty much all of them. Days off at home turn into writing days or projects or things needing to be done with [info]the_child. Days off on the road turn into writing days or writing days or writing days. I always have to be somewhere, do something. If I’m not engaged at that level, I feel an emotion somewhere between guilt and worry.

Saturday at the Locus Awards, during the lengthy break between the banquet and the Clarion West party, I shot pool with John Pitts, Ty Franck and Peter Orullian. We played slop eight ball, the way kids play pool. Mostly John and I lost. I muffed a lot of shots. We were in the bar almost three hours, just knocking around the balls and yakking about whatever. Writing was a big thread, obviously, but plenty of other things as well. Music. Kids. Other people. No agenda, just four people spending time together over nachos and pool.

In the middle of all this, I realized I simply never do anything like that. I don’t ever go just hang out with friends and screw around. I’m so freaking goal oriented that if I’m going somewhere with friends, it’s to hike, or take photos at a certain site, or a destination-oriented trip.

Likewise, yesterday I was visiting a friend up north of Seattle. We went to the coast, Deception Pass in the San Juans. We walked around and looked a tide pools. We stared at the ocean. We checked out a cool bridge. We had a mediocre lunch at an oddball restaurant in Anacortes. All in all, we had a great time, basically doing nothing but passing the day in an interesting place. (And, yes, I took a few photos, because that’s what I do.)

I’m working on doing more of less. Not slowing down, not that. I think I’m like a shark. Swim or die. But finding more (and better) opportunities during my speed run through life to not be speeding or running either one. Maybe even be still and at peace some of the time. (Another lesson I’m working on learning.)

Damn, it’s hard.

[photos] Skagit County, WA

I spent yesterday messing about in Skagit County, WA. Low key day, pleasant and fun. I didn’t have the big camera, as [info]the_child took it to California with her, but here’s a few photos of this beautiful corner of the Pacific Northwest, in and around Deception Pass in the San Juans.




Photos © 2012, Joseph E. Lake, Jr.

Creative Commons License

This work by Joseph E. Lake, Jr. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

[photos] Hiking to Gillette Lake

Sunday, J—, T— and I (and their dog N—) drove out the Columbia Gorge to the Bonneville Trailhead to go hiking up to Gillette Lake. It’s a nice drive, the better part of an hour out I-84 then across the Bridge of the Gods to the Washington side, and back over to the immediate area of Bonneville Dam.

We hit the trail around 9 am, which is a late start for me hiking, but were still the first ones out from that point. We spent about two and half hours on the trail, which is a long time to hike 5.5 miles, but that included me going slow on some steep sections, a bunch of messing around when we actually got to Gillette Lake, and my right knee getting funky on the downward slopes near the end of the hike.

The place was, as usual for the Pacific Northwest, stunning.

View back toward the Oregon side, fairly early in the hike

Hiking through a stand of trees, also early in the hike

Prayer flags on the trail in one of the clear cut areas

The trillium are in bloom, though this one was a bit distressed

Gillette Lake its own self as seen from the trail heading down to the shore (the lake lies in a steep bowl valley)

A bit of pareidolia as we approached the lake itself — this looks like a bear to me

J— in the woods by the lakeshore

Gillette Lake up close and personal

Looking across the lake up at the crest where the trail brought us out of the woods

The water was very clear, and very green

Gillette Lake is fed by a lovely, noisy stream

The dog enjoying the stream

J— crossing the stream (I decided not to try that bridge with my poor balance)

The bridge I did use, a few hundred yards upstream from the lake

View of the stream from the bridge

Happy dog by the lakeshore

As usual, more at the Flickr set.

Photos © 2012, Joseph E. Lake, Jr.

Creative Commons License

This work by Joseph E. Lake, Jr. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

[links] Link salad rolls like a stone

Shimmer blog asks writers: How much do you write in a typical day? — I answer, among other fine actors.

The science fiction effectHow science fiction helps scientists get their message across. (Snurched from @BulletinAtomic via @BoraZ.)

The Lair of the Clockwork Book — A nifty book trailer and Kickstarter appeal. (Via [info]willyumtx.)

New supercontinent ‘Amasia’ will form over the Arctic with North and South America fusing together (in 200million years) — Consider your real estate purchases accordingly.

Two Takes on Extraterrestrial Life — Worldbuilding, anyone?

Can’t find your car? Scientists say zap to the brain can improve your spatial memory — The cure seems worse than the disease, somehow.

Nancy Brinker: ‘I made some mistakes’ — Ya think so? It’s pretty obvious that like most conservatives who get in trouble, what she regrets is getting caught.

Scrivener’s Error on various things, including the role of book reviewing and the legal details of the recent Prop 8 decision

Biology Doesn’t Support Gay Marriage BansGay marriage bans don’t make sense for a lot of reasons, but I’ll just focus on one for now. The notion of defining marriage as a union between “one man and one woman” doesn’t work unless you define “man” and “woman,” and we actually don’t have airtight definitions for those states. (Via Curiosity Counts.)

Wash. Lawmakers Pass Gay Marriage Bill — Ah yes, rational compassion and respect for civil rights triumphs here in the Pacific Northwest. At least until the bigots get the lawsuits going…

Lawmaker Proposes Bill: Life Begins Not At Conception But At Ejaculation — Everybody sing: “Every sperm is sacred…” (Via [info]bravado111.)

Lawmakers were made to pledge secrecy over redistrictingPublic comments were to be ignored, GOP memo shows. I find this story incredible. Deeply deceptive and profoundly unethical behavior on the part of Wisconsin Republicans. Imagine the outrage if a Democratic state majority tried to pull this off?

In wake of Proposition 8 ruling, Santorum attacks Obama — Apparently calling people out on their bigotry is intolerance. Who knew the Right valued tolerance anyway?

Romney and the “Conservative Movement” — Conservative commentator Daniel Larison the GOP’s presumed front-runner.

Dear Ronald Reagan: Thanks for Wrecking America — Yep. This. I would say it baffles me why Republicans are so proud of Reagan, but look who’s out in front of the party today. Bigoted lunacy seems to be a prerequisite for being a conservative public figure now. By comparison to the current crop of Republicans, Reagan really was a statesman. And that is a sad, sad comparison.

?otd: How does it feel to be on your own?

Writing time yesterday: 1.25 hours (short fiction revisions)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 7.0 (fitful)
Weight: 229.2
Currently reading: n/a (between books)

[links] Link salad joins the Center for the Easily Amused

Five Authors + Five Questions : GoalsShimmer‘s blog on various writers on various issues. Including me.

Philip Glass on style

Darwin Day — Portland celebrates the Antichrist one of the heroes of modern science on February 12. (Via [info]threeoutside.)

DNA Turning Human Story Into a Tell-All — Humans and Neanderthals and Denisovans, oh my. I especially liked this bit: [O]ur modern era, since H. floresiensis died out, is the only time in the four-million-year human history that just one type of human has been alive. (Thanks to Dad.)

Steampunk Pocket Watch Winds Via Solar Power — So to speak… Some neat lateral thinking here. (Via [info]markbourne.)

Experts Build Crab-Like Robot to Remove Stomach Cancer — Huh. (Via [info]danjite.)

How Neutrino Beams Could Reveal Cavities Inside Earth — Commander Laforge to the bridge.

Scientists close to entering Vostok, Antarctica’s biggest subglacial lake

Team to investigate underwater ‘UFO’ – is it sunken ships or Millennium Falcon? — Duh, of course it’s a life size replica of a completely fictional starship. At the bottom of the ocean.

Far side of the moon filmed by Nasa spacecraftOne whole face of the Moon can never be seen from Earth because it does not spin on its axis, meaning we always have a view of the same side. Umm… stupid much?

Bill legalizing same-sex marriage passes Washington state Senate — Someday fairly soon, opposition to gay marriage will have all the social panache and credibility as opposition to interracial marriage, and for much the same reason. This shameful bigotry will be the province of bitter, aging cranks, largely behind closed doors.

I Don’t Care About Your Invisible JeebusBut from where I stand these days, the only thing I see religion doing in the public sector is gay bashing and telling women, mostly poor and desperate and in deplorable financial and personal situations, what to do with their bodies. I see busybodies deciding what drugs they can dispense to which customers, or deciding that they don’t have to issue a marriage license because of some petty deity that I don’t believe in told them to hate their fellow citizens and ignore the law.

Indiana Senate passes bill putting religion in science class — Conservative America: driving all our children deeper into ignorance every year. Yet another of the myriad reasons I can never be conservative, and honestly don’t understand how any thoughtful, self-aware person can be.

Teleprompters are stupid … only when Obama uses them — Ah, conservative “logic”.

The Conservative Backlash That Isn’t Coming — Some thoughts from conservative commentator Daniel Larison. I will observe that since no one in the GOP seems to remember the eight years of the Bush administration, preferring to blame the disastrous outcomes of his governing on conservative principles on Obama who inherited Bush’s mess, how could there be a backlash?

Have Democrats Succeeded in Pre-Destroying Romney? — A conservative leaning narrative complaining about the Democrats using the same tactics that have been so successful for the GOP these past decades.

?otd: Are you ever bored? Why?

Writing time yesterday: 2.0 hours (Sunspin revisions)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 8.5 (solid)
Weight: 227.2
Currently reading: The Man in the Moone, and Other Lunar Fantasies ed. Faith Pizor

[links] Link salad is with the high command

Alma Alexander announces the publication of the anthology River — In which I have a story, a brief post-apocalyptic piece set in the Columbia gorge.

Mountain Shadows

Police Actions and Media Coverage of Occupy Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street: Outing the Ringers

The Rage Of A Privileged Class — Ta-Nehisi Coates on the politics of NYPD. [info]pnh with more on this at Making Light.

Oh How They Loved Sarah Palin — A little restrospecitve on the Right Wing commentariat’s love feast for the First Grifter.

Paul Ryan, Defender Of The Safety NetThe GOP thinks that conservatives are eager to develop a self-image of themselves as the real friends of the poor. From the part whose candidates consistently call the poor lazy leeches and undercut every effort to help them. Hypocrisy much, Rep. Ryan? Slackivist with more on this, in detail.

?otD: Can you hear me running??

Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo fatigue)
Body movement: none (on the chemo pump)
Hours slept: 11.25 hours (solid overnigt plus napping)
Weight: 221.0
Currently (re)reading: Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett