Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Holly Mosaic

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on here, so here is a something I’ve been working on in Photoshop. It’s just 12 different photos repeated, while Holly is overset and the transparency is tweaked. I think I’ll try a few more with this technique, as I really like the way this simple one came out.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Elf Yourself

I guess this thing was pretty popular a while back, but I just saw it and think it's awesome: Holly and I got “Elfed.” This is scarily hilarious…

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Finally: Portland’s Best View

Ever since moving here, I’ve wanted nothing more than to find a spot where I can take a picture of Portland as a whole. And since I live in the western hills, that should have been easy, right? Wrong.

However, if only I had taken a trail just off the road we drive seemingly every day, I would have found this:


Getting Mt. Hood in the background was more of a bonus than I could have imagined. I forgot how prominent the major peak was even from Portland. So, my new favorite viewpoint is behind the Pittock Mansion.

It’s been so clear oustside lately (not to mention so cold!), I imagine this must be one of the best views of the entire region at this time of the year. Here’s the picturesque scene just as I arrived before sunset:


Basketball Program

Once again I get the pleasure to design an event program for North Idaho College’s athletic department: a high school invitational tournament hosted by the college. Unlike last year, where I was given a cover and asked only to design the innards, I get to create the entire program from cover to cover this year.

But before I finish (or even really begin!), I had to design a schedule for the high schools involved to post around their campus. Thus, I came up with this:


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

John’s Portland Trip

I forgot to post this when I put photos up a couple weeks ago, but something pretty sweet happened during John’s inaugural Portland visit: We won free tickets to a Blazers game at a bar raffle, just two hours before tipoff. Even better, the tickets were located in the Lexus Room, the level where people get all-you-can-eat free food and (sadly) non-alcoholic drinks.

Nevertheless, it was an awesome time. John had never been to an NBA game while I had only seen one, yet amidst everything we still left at halftime (the Blazers sucked that night, anyway).

Here are some of the shots I got from our corner seats, including an obvious indoor panoramic (As always, click to view larger):




Friday, December 4, 2009

No “Happy Gilmore” in Canada


Remember Happy Gilmore, the greatest golf movie to hit screens since Caddyshack? More importantly, do you remember his awesome  running swing? Well, if you golf in Canada nowadays, that swing is illegal. You heard it, against the law. After a man recently hit another golfer with the ball after swinging like Happy Gilmore, a judge ruled in favor of the victim!

So, even though the shot us by no means against the rules (though it’s not exactly in good taste), in Nova Scotia the shot is against the law.

Read the whole story here.

Website bonanza

It seems like I haven’t posted in over a week. Perhaps that’s because I haven’t!

Well, it’s all in good cause – building a Flash website! I know I’ve inundated this blog with routine proclamations concerning the “new” and “improved” JakeDonahue.com. Since buying my domain name earlier this year, I’ve indeed changed it's homepage more often than not.

But, believe it or not, I’ve finally settled down. Seriously. I’m not even joking!

My indecisive mind eventually buckled down, creating a monster of a website in Photoshop before transferring it to Flash. Sound easy, eh? I’ve worked on just the design in Photoshop for over a week, then spent 18 hours over two days mocking up the Flash file; I’ve since doubled the hours in just Flash, this week alone.

What’s more, I’m simply a Flash novice – no fiend here!

That being said, let me know what you think. I’m still learning Action Script and tweens, motions and dynamic images.

Let it also be said that my inspiration for this site design came from the background photo. It’s a panoramic of the downtown Portland skyline, one that I’ve bee looking forward to shooting since moving here. With my buddy John in town, we walked all over downtown before finding such a terrific vantage.

So, click the image below to view my newest attempt in Flash. Mind you, it’s roughly 80% done (still need to perfect the layout under the DESIGN tab, not to mention import material for WRITING).

Let me know what you think!


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Fatty Americans

Here’s an attractive infographic showcasing a very unattractive epidemic. Thanks to Joel for posting this on Facebook.

Click image for larger, easier-to-read version.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Portland at Night

My buddy John flew into Portland today from Coeur d’Alene. He’s one of my groomsmen, not to mention a great photographer with a nice camera. So, I felt it painstakingly obvious that we should spend the afternoon at the waterfront by a city he’s never seen.

And, it was great.

His photos turned out amazing, especially when leaving the shutter open and using his zoom. There was a nice, very old gentleman by the water who informed us of the trick, one that we spend quite a while experimenting with.

Nevertheless, I couldn’t resist the temptation to churn out another panoramic of the Portland skyline, especially since this was a new vantage along the river I had yet to view.

As always, click to view it larger.

Cars on the Steel Bridge.

Moon over the Steel Bridge.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Subtle Sexuality

I love The Office. This music video is a spinoff from the show.

New Website

I’m pleased to announce the new JakeDonahue.com, version 2.1. Stay tuned, as there will undoubtedly be updates, but this is the new home for everything Jake Donahue: Design, Photos, Portfolios, Blog and Resume.

If it’s by Jake Donahue, then JakeDonahue.com will be the starting point. Of course, this new homepage is only the beginning. I actually borrowed a template to get it started in Adobe Dreamweaber, and I plan on learning both HTML and CSS, not to mention PHP and Flash.

Until then, when I am able to announce the new and improved JakeDonahue.com version 3.0, just go with the flow and let me know what you think (to begin with, I don’t like the bars flanking each side of the main page…).

Nevertheless, at least it’s better than nothing!


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Napoleon Dynamite

Holly and I watched that Idahoan movie again yesterday, and I completely forgot how awesome the election dance was. Here it is once more, just because I could watch it every day:

Monday, November 16, 2009


Our cat is obsessed with the window in our spare bedroom. But as soon as I enter the room (normally I yell at her to get off my desk), she bolts for the door in a flash, leaving just the moving blinds and papers flying off the desk.

But today, after many failed attempts, I finally caught her in the act:


Sunday, November 15, 2009

My new online photo portfolio

Lately, I’ve been working on uploading all my favorite photos to one website. After trying Google’s Picasa and Yahoo’s Flickr (I highly recommend Picasa!), I decided those sites were better for simply storing photos online.

But when it came to sharing, I decided to build a Wordpress site, especially since I already own JakeDonahue.com (which is still being constructed). Eventually all my portfolios will be held there: Design, Writing and Photo – not to mention, this blog.

So, with that in mind, I officially launch my photo portfolio:


It’s ready before the main site because I want to test out Wordpress, as I’m considering building the entire site through this content management system. What’s more, I tentatively considered moving Jakewood to WP as well, but I’m too much in love with Blogger and the layout I have now.

Nevertheless, here is a screenshot of my new photo site.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

He’s baaaaaaack


It wasn’t official until yesterday, but Ken Griffey Jr. is back with the Mariners for one more year (see the ESPN article: Mariners 'tickled pink' with Griffey 1-year deal).

I’m so giddy, it’s gross. But just in case this is his final year in the pros, I plan on buying tickets to the final game of the 2010 season to see his farewell. What’s more, the M’s look better than ever to make a run at the playoffs next season.

Perhaps one more photo sequence like this end his amazing career?

griffey griffey2

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wedding Photographer? Check!


My greatest contribution to our upcoming wedding has been choosing our photographer. And this was no easy decision – I toiled through dozens of portfolios – until I found Benjamin.

He’s a phenomenal wedding photographer, a photojournalist and even a celebrity portraiture artist: From Kobe Bryant, Beck and Woody Allen, to Molly Shannon, Selma Blair and Chelsea Handler. Not to mention shooting for National Geographic, Business Week and the Los Angeles Times.

But his wedding photos are even more stunning. I didn’t know the exact traits I wanted in a wedding photographer, but I knew what I didn’t want: fake, cheesey posed shots or clichĂ© traditional close-ups. After the countless websites and portfolio’s I’d seen, I began to give up hope and narrowed down a small list that I would consider settling on.

But then, thank god, there came Ben’s wedding portfolio. (His wedding portfolio is Flash, so no reposts here. But check out the site here.) Here’s a screenshot of his homepage.


What’s more, his personality meshed absolutely perfect with Holly’s and mine. He’s going to dive into our wedding with the same fervor as us, and even said he wished the wedding was sooner (he’s excited already).

Since I can’t copy any of his wedding stuff, I’ll share some of the other photos I found on his Facebook profile’s photo album:

Yeah. That’s Kobe Bryant!

Host of E’s “Chelsea Lately” Chelsea Handler.

And of course, Woody Allen!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


So the one year I clean up and snag a chunk of awards from the College Media Advisors’ annual design competition, Best of Collegiate Design, they stop publishing the book of winners.

But of course.

After 16 years of printing this damn publication, they stop when I make it. Supposedly, instead of the book they normally give away, all the winners receive a certificate. How cute.

However, they did make a slideshow that showcases all the winners. And that’s OK, because they only reason I ever liked the book was to see what other colleges are doing. I love flipping through and getting ideas and see who’s used some of mine.

Oh well, at least I won this year. And by that, I mean I made it into the book. And by that, I mean I made it five times! With close to 1300 entries from almost 80 colleges and universities, I’m pretty stoked to say the least.

So all is well in the land of Jakewood –- at least for now.

Here are the awards I won and the pages with them. By far the greatest success in my collegiate career concerning all things design is winning first place in the nameplate category. I spent more than a year designing the template for The Sentinel’s current nameplate, so winning that was huge for me.

NAMEPLATE: 1st Place




99 ways


SPORTS PAGE: 3rd Place

B5 Fencing







Tuesday, November 3, 2009

University of Texas

One thing I looked forward to more than most things in Austin was the University of Texas, home of the Longhorns. Their football team is currently ranked second in the country, and I was begging the BCS Gods they might be playing at home last weekend.

Alas, they were at Oklahoma State.

Nevertheless, Nils and I still wanted to see if we might get inside the stadium. So, with Loren, Mike and Paul, we trekked toward the 102,000-seat football cathedral on our last day in town.

Surprisingly, the front doors to the main office at the stadium were open. We went through every door that was open once inside, up every flight of stairs until we realized Nils was gone. Five minutes later, he returned, and motioned for us to follow him.

Apparently he fell into the PR office and weaseled one of the PR guys to give us a tour of the press box. And just like that, we were in.

Here’s the panorama I got from inside the stadium:

As always, click to view it larger.

Bat in the airport

IMG_5623We had two hours to kill once we got to Austin’s airport before heading home Sunday afternoon. Low and behold, we weren’t away from the bats just yet: There was a winged demon waiting for us inside the terminal. The first time we saw it fly by, I snapped pictures like the paparazzi. Enough so that one of the airport employees asked me to stop, saying “You’re flash is blinding everyone around here.” (It was incredibly hard for me not to simply say, “Then don’t look at it!”)

Needless to say, people were freaked. After all, this bat was swooping around like it owned the damn airport, dodging people left and right by inches from the floor to just above their heads. The next time it came around, I stubbornly obliged with that airport employee’s demands and settled for the picture I already shot – but video doesn’t produce a flash.

When the bats come out at night

It’s said that 1.5 million bats inhabit the underside of downtown Austin’s Congress Street Bridge. Every night from spring though fall they take off into the sunset as night arrives, and hordes of people gather to watch. Here’s a video clip and picture I took of them all leaving:


Crowds line the bridge both above and below waiting for the bats. 

Over a million bats heading down the river.

Stragglers left behind.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Inside the Capital

The Sentinel News Editor and I moseyed on over to the Capital Building this afternoon to take some photos. Here is a panoramic I made from 11 photos I took on the 4th story inside the dome.

Capital Building

Austin a.m.

Funny thing happened around 3:30 a.m. this morning: I woke up. I was ready to get up. I was ready to for the continental breakfast in the hotel’s lobby and stoked for this journalism conference in Austin.

But it was 3:30 a.m. So I went back to bed.

Even though yesterday was exhausting (I hate flying anymore), I woke up again at 5:30 a.m. after a combined nine hours of sleep the previous two days, and I was up for good. A shower and a short shave later (I’m keeping the beard until I go back to Oregon), I decided to take some photos of the capitol building down the street.

My buddy told me about a program better than Photoshop when it comes to HDR merging, so I decided to try that – but then my tripod broke. So I tried my best, and only came out with one decent shot. I haven’t downloaded Photomatrix yet, but I plan to later today and play with these photos some more.

Anyway, here’s the one shot:


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Gene’s Garage

My cousin Gene is almost done building his garage in Hayden, Idaho, just next to Coeur d’Alene. Needless to say, it’s huge. Gargantuan – damn near the size of his house! Anyway, we put some boards up on his roof the other day to prepare it for the final roofing this week.

Of course, we had more fun with my camera than his nail-gun. Here’s Gene on the roof (I love the sun):


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Funny Picture

Ricky, a friend of mine from Coeur d'Alene, recently pointed this photo out to me. It's a group shot that we took in the Denver Airport on our way back from Kansas City lasy fall following the Associated Collegiate Press and College Media Advisor's fall conference. Even though we won a Pacemaker and two Best-in-Show awards for The Sentinel, I was obviously not very happy about this picture.

I think it's funny that you can view this photo on the North Idaho College website (see here), especially since I look so pissed. I don't even remember why I had that scoul, but something must have tipped me off!

Coeur d’Alene-bound


Today around 6 p.m., I finally depart back north toward the Lake City: Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Indeed, my favorite place on earth and longtime hometown, I’ve been waiting in fervor, to say the least.

Now, leaving Holly alone for two full weeks is not exactly something to look forward to; but since her work schedule is insane and Coeur d’Alene is a close second to my fiancĂ©e (concerning all loves in my life), I feel it slightly justified – especially since the length of my trip has been dictated by speaking engagements and a trip to Texas.

What’s more, I can work from my laptop the entire trip. So it’s nary vacation time, save for a few days hunting. Nevertheless, if I had to work the entire trip it’s still worth seeing North Idaho in fall.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hunting (Part 3)


Now that I only have a few days left until my return to Coeur d’Alene, I’m chomping at the bit just waiting to go hunting. If anything, I look forward to being outdoors more than anything else.

Truth be told, I have no problem just camping, target shooting and drinking a few beers each night, while my cousin Gene is embodied by the notion of killing. Indeed, it’s quite exhilarating stalking a deer or herd of elk, but the hunt is what drives me more than the actual kill.

Needless to say, it’s an empowering adventure either way. And since my move to Oregon, I’ll only get a few days this year as opposed to the countless weekends when residing in Coeur d’Alene.

Thus I plan to seriously take advantage.

That being said, in keeping with our archived hunting article history of years’ past, I now present my final sports column from North Idaho College’s paper, The Sentinel.

By Jake Donahue |
The Sentinel
Originally published Nov. 20, 2006

AH, THE FRAGRANCE of death is permeating throughout North Idaho. It seems the further you get from downtown Coeur d’Alene it feels more and more like the bad side of Detroit.

Gunshots, killings – and that’s just in the mountains past Lake Fernan.

It is deer season, baby, and I’m getting ready to assassinate the kingpin of the forest. Bambi, once my childhood friend, is about to meet his maker (and I’m not talking about Walt Disney).

Oh how I yearn to bathe in the blood of the dead.

Sure, I have shot a grouse, caught a salmon and dropkicked a squirrel, but to bring down a beast as big as myself makes me shudder just imagining the sheer possibilities – the gallons of blood, yards of entrails and unholy smells are worth the 22-year wait.

I got my first deer tag this year, and I’ll be dammed if I chalk up a goose egg.

ON SATURDAY MORNING, I made a decision: I called in sick to work because I was going to hunt. I was unwavering in my mission (though I did watch the first half of the Michigan-Ohio State game), and prepared for the hunt of a lifetime.

Rifle? Check.

Camo jacket and Carhartts? Check.

Lawn chair, pillow to sit on, peanut butter sandwich and deer call? Check, check, check and check.

Indeed, it was to be a glorious day.

I nestled into my lawn chair under my Grandparent’s deck, tossed a few marshmallows into my hot cocoa and leaned back as gunshots echoed throughout the mountain like Independence Day. I’m the first one to admit that some people don’t call what I do “hunting.”

These are the same people who don’t shoot grouse from moving vehicles or hunt by the light of the moon. They also follow the “laws.”

But my hunting guide (my cousin Geno) told me long ago that we write the rule book as we go. So what if we sat in lawn chairs next to the dryer vent at our grandparent’s house? At least we keep warm.

WE SET UP a decoy up on the hill, complete with a two-way radio next to it. We sprayed deer piss liberally across the meadow. Then we sat under the deck.

Most people wait hours, sometimes days before seeing a deer on their hunt. We waited 15 minutes. But as a massive buck approached and we grabbed our guns, an ear-splitting screech pierced the still air – it was the sliding door to the deck.

We like to consider ourselves great hunters – real men of the wild – yet we often times forget we are sitting next to a house; it was time for Grandpa’s cigarette.

Thus, the deer ran for its life.

So between the door sliding open and close every so often, the occasional sound of cars driving by and the ever-present noise from the washer and dryer on the other side of the wall, we simply waited.

This time, unlike numerous other hunting trips under the deck, we had a radio next to the decoy. That enabled us to use a deer call from the house, through the radio, and it sounded like it came from the decoy!

Illegal? Most likely. But that’s the only way to get the big deer.

After watching one tiny buck cower away from our daunting decoy (the rut was approaching, and thus bucks will attack each other for first dibs at the most beautiful babes of the backcountry), we waited a little while longer.

Being the impatient imbecile I’ve been dubbed, I decided to no longer wait. I’m not missing out on a deer this year, so as it got darker I concluded the next deer to walk out was going …


I dropped that monster of a doe so quick I heard the valley shake when she hit the mud. So what if it didn’t have antlers, it was a big deer and it was now dead – by my own hands

Nevertheless, my cousin was the one who gutted, skinned and hung the bloody carcass from the rafters in our garage. Long story short, I basically just pulled the trigger and then watched Geno slaughter the slain beast.

But already, I cannot wait until next season. I have the urge to ungulate anther, a passion to kill again. There is a dead deer in my grandpa’s garage right now waiting to be cut up, but I’m already contemplating my next kill.

I may not have butchered Bambi, but I murdered his mom.

Friday, October 16, 2009

My mom’s cat hates me


Remember when my own cat hated me for a week or so? Well, it seems that hatred has been present in my mom’s cat for quite a while. I always thought Zeus was simply temperamental, but alas, he friggin’ hates me.

Seriously, he wants me dead.

Don’t believe me? Check this out (and I was being nice, too):

Something about all this seems vaguely familiar… Oh, maybe because I’m starting to get used to the feline race despising me:


Hunting (Part 2)

The infamous “Geno,” my cousin.

In keeping with the tradition of the season – hunting season, that is – I’ve decided to pull a few “Boing” articles out of the dusty archives.

So, here is part two of the series (part 1 should be just below this post). Coming up next will be the third sports column I wrote about the adventures of Geno and myself, and don’t be surprised if I throw up a “Best of” post featuring my favorite hunting photos from years past.


By Jake Donahue | The Sentinel
Originally published Nov. 21, 2005

Breaking up the monotony of my newly-dawned 21-year-old life may seem challenging until you realize that my life is far from that.

Amidst the madness that makes up me, lies the most important aspect that I feel I truly represent: Surrounding myself with those who match my maturity level – thus explaining why I love coaching third grade basketball for Coeur d’Alene Park and Rec.

Indeed, this age group is solely playing for the sheer enjoyment of the game. Or, at least, that’s what I tell myself after respective losing scores of 17-3, 16-4 and 20-0. And true, while all is fun, I must gloat about our sole W on the score sheet: a 4-2 romping we barely held on to in the final minutes.

For, to say the least, that’s all I can hold on to. Until my cousin Geno calls me up, of course.

That’s when I set aside my copy of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Coaching Youth Basketball,” which I really do own, and absorb all that Geno has to offer.

(By the way, this is the same dude who got me hooked on North Idaho’s claim to fame: That redneck’s national pastime of the ever-amazing sport known as road hunting. He taught me that few things rival the feeling an exploding grouse leaves you with. Especially when you shot with one hand from a moving truck, while not spilling your beer in the other.)

But today, he just got done watching Rob Zombie’s movie “Devil’s Rejecets,” and enlightened me with some of his self-proclaimed wisdom he boisterously dubs ‘Geneglish.’

“Even though Rob Zombie’s wife kills people in the movie, I think I’d still date her,” he said. “She’s so freaking hot; I guess I’m just a sucker for danger!”

And this is the guy I’m supposed to hunt big game with the next morning. The same guy who asked me to hunt with him that night (illegal) from his truck (illegal) on private property (also illegal).

“Didn’t you know that a full moon is God’s natural spot light?”

May God have mercy on my virgin-hunting soul.

True, I once vowed to kill Bambi, and while I didn’t share Geno’s gut-wrenching, mind-bending, twisted enthusiasm, I was going to get a deer in my first season, that much is certain.

So before leaving the house last Wednesday morning, I grabbed my boots, Carhartts, hand warmers and camo jacket – no safe hunter’s orange for us, apparently that stuff’s for “pansies.”

“Those deer are just frolicking down there and eating their morning grub,” Geno said. “Little do they know, there is gonna be bloodshed in theat peaceful little village.”

Once in the truck, I felt it necessary to call a friend back in Oregon about my upcoming experience, and share with him my love for deer hunting (lackluster at this point, to say the least). After cussing me out for waking him up at 5 a.m., I was belittled once more: “You’re hunting!?” he blasted. “Since when do they sell Carhartts at the Gap, you preppy little mountain-man wannabe.”

Screw him, I had deer on the mind, and deer piss on my clothes. Welcome to Idaho, where the men are men and the deer are scared, where buttering yourself up in deer urine and huddling around other men in the woods is considered bonding – not bondage!

However, one major problem surfaced during our first legal outing: We both re-learned how big of a klutz I am.

“From now on, Jake, I’m going to call you TNT,” he said. “Because when you walk through the woods it sounds like a bomb is going off.”

That meant only thing, we were back in the old Toyota and headed further into the wilderness, where I couldn’t scare the deer away and Gene could stun them with the brights. Why use deer decoys when the front headlights of a pickup will stop any deer in its tracks.

Illegal? I thought so, too.

“If we go down,” he says, “we go down hard.”

Long story short, day one was filled everything but deer. So the next morning after we camped atop a local mountain, we barreled through the snow-encrusted hills with a ferocious fervor – the first legitimately legal outing we had experienced together.

We used a deer decoy, with no luck. We tried deer urine all over the place, with nothing to show but a God-awful-smelling tent, and then we even tried deer calls.

You guessed it, nadda.

“I think I use the deer call too much,” Geno said. “Just like with women, I call so much I scare them away."

Two more days went the exact same. Sure, I heard deer in the brush, but I’m sure they were bouncing around back there making fun of me, saying to other deer how funny I smelled.

I know I wouldn’t go anywhere near a deer covered in human piss.

The experience as a whole turned bittersweet. While hunting, legally, leaves a morally clean slate, I think I may stick to the warmer climates offered by an elementary school gym. Indeed, there is no greater joy than coaching youth sports, but I’ve still got a vengeance for venison.

Bambi is still numero uno on my list, but we’ll see if I tag him.

As we left the camp, I came to the conclusion I may never hunt with Geno again, for the sole reason he mentioned this demented musing after, noticeably, much thought: “I wonder how bad a deer’s butt stinks when it’s in heat.”

Mother of God.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

All that is Man

I’ve got good news and bad news.

The Good News: I’m going back to Coeur d’Alene at the end of this month to fly from Spokane to Austin, Tex., for a design award (thanks to NIC for paying!).

The Bad News: Well, it’s mostly bad for the deer and moose running around Fernan Mountain. My cousin Gene and our buddy Todd will be spending the 3 days following my return from Texas hunting. It will be glorious. Todd has a moose tag, Gene and I both deer, while tree stands are setup already. A few days camping on the top of a mountain in early November, with temperatures (hopefully) in the single digits and snow hammering down, might just possibly be as close to perfection as my young life will experience.

Boom shakka lakka!

Anyway, in the spirit of the season (and because I’m literally counting down the hours until my trip!), I’ve decided to share my four favorite hunting articles – written by me, of course – that I penned whilst editing Sports for The Sentinel.

So, here is the first column I wrote about hunting, while the next three will come in the next few days. From the bowels of Boing (my old sports column), I give you:

By Jake Donahue | 
The Sentinel
Originally published Sept. 19, 2005

I recently experienced the most North Idahoan tradition that I am sure exists: road hunting. Because of this truly redneck ritual, I have ultimately realized how skewed my interpretation of this sport was – nay, how skewed was my perspective of all sports.

Indeed, I may have once deemed any “sport” boasting the use of animals or wheels (such as rodeo and big game hunting, or NASCAR and BMX racing) was as far away from the wide world of sports as one could reach. If baseball was the sun in our solar system of sports, NASCAR was a black hole in a different universe.

I even proclaimed they were simply reasons for rednecks to congregate and drink themselves into oblivion – much like St. Patrick’s Day for us Irish folk, or college for guys like me.

However, after a close friend of mine took me on this life-altering journey through the woods, with a rifle in one hand, a Natty Light in the other, and his knees on the steering wheel, I now understand why rednecks road hunt: It’s like shooting fish in a barrel!

Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve been around hunters my whole life: my dad, my grandpa, my uncles and my cousins. Oh sure, I went camping and fishing and I’ll be the last one to turn down a venison dinner; I even work for Black Sheep Sporting Goods – the leading vendor of all things fishing- and hunting-related in the Northwest.

But let’s face it: I’m a city kid. While my cousin wears camouflage, I shop at the Gap; when they’re up four in the morning before daylight, I wake up in time for the 1 p.m. Seahawks’ game. While I’m at parties chasing tail, they’re in the woods chasing whitetail.

Needless to say, I’m the last one you’d expect with a gun. Yet all it took was $30.50 at the mighty ‘Sheep, and now I’m an official card-carrying resident hunter/fisher.

And that’s all it took for my cousin to throw me in the pickup with a rifle and 12-pack. The walking, talking, human quote-machine of a cousin of mine has been like my big brother; so if he says it’s legal, I simply assume it is.

“Laws? What laws?” he once said. “I write the rule book as I go.”

We embarked on our journey slowly but steady, a stop for gas, a stop for beer, and a quick pep talk before heading up the mountain to slay the bird locals know as “grouse.”

“In town I may be the biggest loser around,” he said, staring off into the wilderness. After a momentary pause, as a devilish grin slowly spread across his face and the twinkle all but vanished from his eyes, he added: “But up here on the mountain, out in the woods, I am God – I decide what lives and what dies.”

He reared his head back, bellowed a satanic chuckle and peeled up the swerving dirt roads.

I have no other worldly experiences to justly compare the following two hours of my life. In short, I flat-out don’t remember the most of it, simply quick images of the sky clouding up for a rainstorm (“If this weather was a pizza,” said Gene, “than it would be extra-saucey!”).

I remember answering a phone call from my girlfriend – to his complete and utter disgust, as women apparently do not belong in the world of hunting, or even on the minds of men in the “hunting zone.” Yet as quickly as he was to denounce my answering of the call, he yielded one more bit of advice from his ever-growing repertoire: “Tell her that she has the body of a supermodel and the brains of an astronaut.”

At one point, I’m pretty sure we were knee-deep in elk feces searching for a fallen grouse carcass.

All in all, we didn’t end up with a single bird in the bag. In fact, the journey in which I speak of lasted only 25 minutes – that’s all it took before we reached the real hunter’s plateau: a monstrous grass field where grouse are aplenty, the deer and the elk roam, and beer cans and shotgun shells can be seen for miles.

It was indeed a true redneck’s paradise; worse yet, I found myself awe-struck when I quietly muttered one solitary word in this land of animal solitude: “Glorious.”

Apparently road-hunting is illegal, some rule about being 200 feet or so from any roadway. Yet what I considered road-hunting was actually legal: riding to the prairie with guns behind the seat.

Consequently, I have now budged from a position that many felt was impossible: I will be the first to admit hunting is a sport. The adrenaline rush you get when ending the life of another living creature is simply unparalleled.

I’ve never scored the winning touchdown in a football game, but I have played co-ed recreational softball. I’ve coached two Little League teams and I’ve sunk a hole-in-one on the third hole of Seattle’s most notorious mini-golf course.

Yet all those pale in comparison to shooting a grouse. Worst yet, I bought a deer tag this year, too. If they’re at all like shooting a grouse, than may God have mercy on the whitetails of North Idaho.

Bambi, prepare to die.

Flash, baby

After more than four years I finally decided to upgrade. Not a new computer, oh no. I’ll wait until I can afford a Mac. But I finally bumped up the miniscule RAM on my Toshiba to roughly a Gig and half (it was 512 MB before, believe it or not).

Yeah, 512 MB. Do you realize how long it takes to open InDesign CS4 when you’re running less than a gig under the hood? A long freaking time. How about 12 minutes to merge an eight photo panorama in Photoshop CS4. Yeah, life was dandy.

But now, sweet Jesus, I can download FLASH CS4!!That’s what I used back in Florida to make my Poynter project, and I’ve missed it ever since. Oh, how I’ve yearned for the succulent taste of action scripts and tweens, animations and motion paths.fl_appicon_150x150

Well, now I get to delve into it once more. Not just for fun, but for work! I’ve built the website template for my company’s book (I signed a confidentiality agreement, so no real news about it until it prints…), and I want to keep the site contained in our office – rather than pay a web programmer.

Thus I’ll be spending the better part of November with my other girlfriend, Lynda.com. There will also be a slew of Q’s I plan to sling at my Poynter fellows pertaining to web design and analytics. But in the meantime, here is what I’ve got for the template so far. Let me know what you think, but remember it will be way better in Flash, when the buttons highlight and boxes appear and the Polaroid pictures flip through.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Here is the photo I wanted to take the last time I was in Chicago. Phil and I spent over an hour looking for Garret’s famous popcorn, and after three failed attempts we asked for directions. However, the final destination brought us by this spot along the river, and even though it was mid-afternoon, I figured a decent night shot was to be had.


Anyway, I would like to discover a way in which I merged the photos together without bending the tops of buildings. But for now, I’m happy with this (as always, click the photo for a larger view).

Chicago (again)


Last week I went to Chi-town for the second time in just over a month. This time, however, it was with Holly and her family for their annual foundation meetings. But, seeing as how I’m not exactly in the family  yet (sans a June 26 wedding next year…), I spent most of the time checking out the town with my brother-in-law-to-be.

Needless to say, much of the time was devoted to pictures. And we had a blast taking some of them. What’s more, I got my tripod back!

Phil, Leia (Holly’s sister), Holly and I at the hotel.

Leia’s photo from the women’s bathroom of the Hancock Tower. Supposedly the city’s best view.

I’ll throw up another post where we spent a lot of time on photos such as this one.

Phil loved the camera.

Yeah, right. Like I ran the Chicago Marathon…