Tuesday, October 30, 2007


I love this place-it’s at once so familiar and so exotic. I would live here if I had the time. I grew up in Cali, so had to take California state history in high school, which was mostly about Mexico! So, it’s like I sort of grew up here-sort of. Anyway, the people are very friendly, the climate is perfect….living here would enable me to learn Spanish well enough so that I could begin to think in Spanish, after all….

“To have another language is to possess a second soul.” Charlemagne

And who doesn’t want a second soul?

As a child, my parents would take me to the Jai Alai games in Tijuana. At the games, my fondest memory is of the tacos! Only 1 or 2 pesos apiece and they were fantastic-I’ve never been a big eater but I would gorge on those amazing tacos.

About ten years ago-the kids in a place called Tomatlan, wondering where in the world they are. I could live here...

On the boardwalk in Bucerias.

Too much sun & fun & food &etc. I think this was the first time in about 20 years I took a holiday without children. Notice the fake tattoo on the arm-poor choice eh?-it’s why tattoos are generally a bad idea. So, at this point in the holiday, I’m like the walking dead. I was cogent enough to realize that the meal here (River Café, Puerto Vallarta) was very good-better than anything in Spokane. I also thought Barcelona superb as it was served up simple, fresh, and excellent tapas. Both these places are as good as the Café des Artistes at a fraction of the price.

A real tough guy…and fully functional.

A small schoolhouse in the middle of a jungle with no electricity available. They beam in the lessons via satellite and use solar panels to power everything-pretty cool.

Friday, October 19, 2007


A few years back we were supposed to go to Istanbul, but two weeks before departure a couple of British banks in Istanbul were bombed, prompting the State Dept. to issue travel warnings for Turkey. I thought that perhaps the war in Iraq was expanding and so didn’t dare take my, at the time, minor children and ended up on a European vacation instead. One of the places we dropped in to was Zell Germany, on the Mosel River-a great place and area that I would return to in a second.

Zell: Brendan is next to our car, a Skoda that we scratched up when I drove through the very narrow streets of a medieval town (Brodenbach) when I shouldn’t have-next time I'll learn how to read the traffic signs.

Cochem, down the road from Zell: There was a flea market and meeting hall here and the people were super friendly. The meeting hall was serving gluwein (a kind of mulled wine), cause that’s all they really have around here (wine that is). There was so much wine bottles were stacked on pallets along the highway. Notice the onion shaped dome on top of the church-kind of like Russian churches.

Zell: The little old pensioner driving this tiny car came into the restaurant where we were eating, had a beer and left. We then saw the car later on that night at the local winestube, the place was rocking and I thought it the place to be, but the daughter vetoed the idea, so we didn’t go in.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Iron Artichoke

I worked for a subsidiary of the gas and electric utility in San Francisco that for some reason had to move away from the mother ship and so decided on a move to Portland OR. In due time a beautiful building was designed and built on the Willamette River. To commemorate this move and a recent pipeline project, a sculpture was commissioned at apparently great expense. As soon as the conceptual renderings for the piece were passed around this thing was dubbed the ‘Iron Artichoke’. After the Iron Artichoke was completed but before it could be sited in front of he new building in downtown Portland, the local planning commission found out that this would be the ‘art’ adorning the building and quickly decided it didn’t meet zoning requirements…or so the story goes. The Iron Artichoke was relegated to the hinterlands and ended up in front of the Spokane office building where it really did look like crap; eventually kind of fell apart, and finally disappeared.

One day we sort of got lost in the basement of the Portland building and walked into a room with hundreds of Iron Artichoke facsimiles (they look far better than the original) in rotting boxes that had never been handed out to those worthy enough. We all grabbed one and I’ve still got mine…why…I don’t know.

The dock

I went out on Saturday to work on the dock and was right on time...except I got the wrong Saturday and no one was there-beautiful day though.

The kids on the dock at about 5 and 6. I'd almost forgotten how blond they were.

Monday, October 08, 2007


Since I am apparently an expert, how about another foray into ultra-nerdom…the world of the hifi geek. I enjoy a respectable hifi setup as much as the next guy, but…it is possible to go too far. If the photos weren’t available you wouldn’t believe it. Most of this stuff looks like lab equipment (basically is) and has an equivalent price tag.

This was the device used to animate the monster in ‘Young Frankenstein’…and it plays CDs too!

Hello!...now that is a horn…looks like an eardrum destructifier to me. No really, an over the top but beautiful piece of audio technology and I’ll bet it sounds great.

What planet are we on now? Check out the speaker cables-you could run about 230kV through those.

Many audiophiles have specially designed ‘listening rooms’…cool…if only I’d gone to med school.