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Showing posts from February, 2007

Rain, Water and Digital Cameras

As the guidebook says, digital cameras, “…are not waterproof, and may malfunction if immersed in water or exposed to high levels of humidity.”

Don’t be deceived. If you immerse your digital camera in water, there is no ‘may’ about it, it will malfunction! (Don’t ask me how I know.)

But digital camera owners in the Pacific Northwest face the prospect of never being able to use their cameras outside if they don’t come to terms with humidity in the form of precipitation.

It’s been raining in the Columbia River Gorge for about two straight weeks now and I’ve been thwarted by ‘humidity’ in two ways in my efforts to get pictures at Oneonta Gorge. The first way is by high water that confines me to the mouth of the gorge. The second way I’ve been thwarted is by raindrops on the lens which I don’t notice until I unload my images to the computer for review.

I thought the solution to my first challenge would be hip-waders, but the helpful outdoorsmen at work suggested neoprene bib overalls with buil…

In Memoriam

Time worn stairs to an amusement park ride at Oaks Park. Winter, 2003 There is an old black and white photograph I keep that shows me and my brother, six and five years old respectively, wrestling with my father on the kitchen floor. My father smiles up at the camera (and undoubtedly his wife), and he looks happy. My brother and I are also smiling. Though Dad has twisted us into pretzel shapes, he simultaneously cradles us protectively in his powerful arms (a stealth hug).

Some twelve years later, I wrestle Dad again. Somewhere over the years, it has become a contest. Time after time I try my puny muscles against his, and learn new ways to be beaten. But this time, I have spent a season wrestling for the high school team. I have worked long sweaty hours in the weight room. On the mats, I have practiced a small set of wrestling moves until they are habits.

This time, I catch my Dad in a head-and-arm and miraculously – inexorably – I slowly inch him onto his back and pin him. He struggles …

Snowshoes: Another Word for Torture

For a $25 entry fee, $15 dollar snowshoe rental fee, and an hour (more or less) of imitating a duck, you too can see this view of Mt. Hood from the top of Frog Butte.
Halfway through my forties, my body has started to send me subtle reminders that the lease is going to expire – in the meantime, maintenance fees are going up. One of these costs is a disciplined approach to exercise, which I don’t have (on account of the discipline part). So when my sister and brother-in-law invited me to go snowshoeing with them, I thought, “Exercise! What could it hurt?”

My little sister, who incidentally runs every day and actually does have a disciplined approach to exercise said, “It’s only 5 kilometers. You can walk three miles can’t you?”

“Sure!” I finally said after a long thoughtful pause during which I imagined things like long level sidewalks and flat quarter mile tracks. “Of course I can.”

But when we pulled into the Frog Lake parking lot, it became clear that 5 kilometers was a misunderstanding…

Self Image vs. Work

It kills me to say this, because I frequently experience frustration there, but I have a cool job. Unfortunately, because of my confidentiality agreement, I’m afraid I can’t really talk about it. The _____ products we make have been important tools in _____ so far, but after considerable development and refinement of our _____, we are making inroads into the ____ industry. What this means is that our products may one day be the essential _____ of _____ that may potentially improve or save the _____ of countless ______. Additionally, I get to work with some admirable people who are exceptionally detail orientated, reliable, good at what they do, and who take pride in their work. Some of them are even funny.

The irony about these truths is that what starts out as inspired creativity – consorting with muses - the unraveling of a mystery – becomes, in its transformation to a means of mass production, a rigid and repetitive system that is intolerant of change or variation. It is easy to see…