Friday, July 31, 2009

…And Boom Goes the Dynamite!

In case you couldn’t tell, that’s me. Same glowing blonde locks, nice blue shirt and a huge wooden stick. If I were to be forever immortalized in print with just one picture, I imagine it to resemble something similar to this.

Again, if you couldn’t tell (and I feel sorry but conversely look down upon you if you can’t) that is my Nintendo Wii character: “Jakey.”

“Jakey” is a stud.

He routinely hits 4-under on Wii golf mini games, averages over 200 at bowling while time and again knocking 9 of 10 homers out at HR derby. Well, that was until today.

Being the unemployed loser I have been up until this week, I’ve been obsessed with bowling a perfect Wii game. You said it, 300. But day after day I fail miserably: Starting off with a split or beginning with a turkey only to knock down 9 on the ensuing roll. Needless to say, what began as a simple “I’m sure I can do it” has morphed into a gargantuan “I hope I can do it” that has literally transformed into an “I give up (for now).”

Well, now that I’m designing a book and learning web design simultaneously, I’ve moved Wii to the backburner. Oh, sure, I do my Wii fitness each day to track my Wii age (today I got all the way down to 26. Is that good? I’m still not sure…). But overall, I’ve been using Adobe CS4 more than Wii Sports.

But then I remembered Home Run Derby. I’ve always wanted to go 10-for-10, and it seems like I’ve been close before. Perhaps this is where I can attain my unemployed glory! I fired it up this afternoon with unrelenting fervor anticipating perfection … only to be sorely mistaken.

Our cat suddenly cowered in the corned as I routinely screamed, “Back back back back back back back back!” like Chris Berman’s infamous (yet mostly annoying) HR Derby chant:BlankShe shuddered under the sofa when I followed up the chant with a string of expletives reminiscent of the Jerry Springer Show. But when I continuously fouled off the ninth pitch after hitting 8 dingers in a row (that happened 3 games in a row!) she was nowhere to be seen.

So I gave up. I was tired and angry and mad at the world. I buried myself in Photoshop once more.

Two hours later, I was unloading the dishwasher when it suddenly occurred to me that I should bring my camera into the living room for good luck. So, I did just that. I fired up the Wii once more only to foul off the first pitch.

The Wii-mote almost went through the sliding glass door in a fit of unyielding rage that surely would have distressed our cat once more.

Alas, I calmed down. I decided one last try …Boom Shakka Lakka!! Ten pitches? Ten Home Runs!

wiiii record

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Polar Bear “Phelps”

When Holly and I went to the Portland Zoo last week for Miss Oregon’s elephant photo shoot, we went to see the polar bear exhibit. What I forgot to upload last time was this little clip of one the (huge) bears seemingly doing laps in his own pool! He did this for 10 minutes non-stop before we left, but who knows how long he kept going for.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

You’ve got to be kidding me

Seriously? Did my car’s thermometer really read 105 yesterday? Really? I thought I moved from the hotter part of the Inland Northwest in Coeur d’Alene to a more temperate climate near the ocean. Oh, how I was sorely mistaken. This heat wave is kicking my ass!

Looking back, I’m trying to wonder how I gave up this:

Coeur d’Alene

For this:


If it’s not the hippies, it’s the heat. Holy mother of God it’s been hotter than hell down here, and the 101-degree highs for today are actually the cooler parts of this week, believe it or not. Yesterday’s high of 105 set an All-time record for that day in Portland’s weather-tracking history!

I gain solace in but one factor: My lovely fiancée. She’s the one who keeps fans in the right spots throughout our apartment and always shows up with a much-needed cool towel.

As for now, I think I may just go marinade in the hot tub. And by hot tub, I mean our pool, which must be boiling after all this brutal heat!

Text Effects

Now that I’m designing the cover of a book, I’ve went through so many different ideas (probably too far away from what the author actually wants…) that it’s hurting my brain.

Thanks to this website, I’ve tried playing with over 20 different ways to just typographically state the name of the book!

Here is one example where I spent 20 minutes or so playing with a cover template that I probably won’t even use:

Actually, making text look gold-plated maybe what he wants, as this book is about making money off Real Estate investing. We shall see, I guess, we shall see. I’m sure I’ll be up late again tonight toiling over countless design ideas. Maybe I’ll just call it quits after five separate mockups.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Matrix Breakfast Club

I was searching for “Real Estate” photos under Google images tonight, when what to my wondering eyes to I see? On the 10th page of results for large images, this little guy reared his ugly head. Thanks to this Real Estate website for freaking me out.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Why I Hate Coors Light

I never really liked Mike’s Hard Lemonade, but this commercial makes me love them! I hate those Coors Light commercials where they have a cold label (the mountains turn blue when the can is cold), because YOU CAN FEEL IF A CAN IS COLD WITH YOUR HAND!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

More Zoo Photos

After shooting the elephants, Holly and I walked around the zoo:

Elephant Photo Shoot

This morning I was able to go behind the fence at the Portland Zoo and see the elephants up close. Of course, the purpose of my visit was to take pictures of Miss Oregon with the owner of Terra Del Sol Spa and my fiancée.

We weren’t allowed to touch the animals, although Rose-Tu, the baby elephant (born last summer), came briskly walking up toward Miss Oregon at the end, only to be stopped by trainers on hand. Since Holly’s boss, the owner, has adopted abused elephants in Africa this was especially meaningful for her.

Needless to say, we were all pretty excited, even if we only got to be out with them for just five minutes.


IMG_4325 Holly getting ready for the group photo.

IMG_4335Miss Oregon: Sylvie Tarpinian (see the baby elephant making his way toward the Miss USA hopeful?)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Driving Me Crazy


No joke, every single bad maneuver I’ve seen on the roadways in the past week reared a similar license plate as the one above!

Now, I’ve always given people the benefit of the doubt. One Washingtonian nearly swerving into me out of nowhere? Just a fluke. Another Spokanite driving 25 in a 55? Coincidence.

But damn near 10 mishaps in just a week? It’s a trend, I say, a TREND!

And I’ve noticed it not just in the Coeur d’Alene area. Sure, we’ve always assumed the poor drivers and beach hogs swarmed from Spokane, but I’ve noticed these demented drivers all the way to Portland and the highways in between. Sure, Oregonians are no textbook travelers (of course, not everybody can drive like those in Idaho), but nobody is worse than Washington.

It now embarrasses me to admit Seattle as my birthplace.

Mineral Ridge

Before leaving Coeur d’Alene, I wanted nothing more than to hike Mineral Ridge in Beauty Bay. Somehow I just knew that had to be the best spot in North Idaho to see a sunset.
And I was right.
I called my buddy, the photo God nicknamed James Hannibal, to hike up with me. Neither of us had been there in nearly 10 years, so it was a bit of a shock when we saw the sign reading: “3.3 Miles.” Nevertheless, him in boots and I my flip-flops, we side0hilled the majority of it to get to a hidden spot in perfect position.
I can’t wait to see his photos, as he’s got the professional Nikon. But mine came out great, also:


Then we stopped in Wolf Lodge on the way back into town to snap a few more. I’m starting to dig shooting through the side mirror on the Jeep, so maybe I’ll try this more often.



Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Back in Oregon … for good


I finally finished my hellish U-haul trailer move back to the Hippy state today. After driving to Coeur d’Alene last Wednesday for what looked to be a three-day pack, clean and move, today I made it back to Holly and our new apartment a week late.

Yeah, a week.

It started with a snafu concerning my drivers license and an online fee I owed to Boise DMV (long story, more later). Throw in a botched paycheck followed by no U-haul trailers available in Coeur d’Alene, and my final move was failing miserably.

Finally, though, a trailer popped up at the last minute just 20 minutes north of Cd’A in Rathdrum. I had to wait 2 hours, and then another 30 minutes after showing up (the girl working had to call her dad from home to come load the trailer). After accidentally backing up too far and into the trailer, we spent another 20 minutes getting the hitch to lock – in the 95 degree heat.

Finally, I was ready; it was time to go load this bad boy. As I pulled away from the parking lot, I hopped out one last time to check the trailer and hitch. Then the only thing that could possibly cap off a day like this would be to lock my keys in the Jeep…

Holy God, I jinxed myself without even knowing it. As I shut the door to the RUNNING Jeep, it somehow automatically locked. Sweet. Perfect. But, of course.

Thankfully, Rathdrum Police fixed the scenario in under 20 minutes for free!

And thus, this morning I ventured southwest toward The Rose City and my fiancée:

IMG_4304Parked along the Columbia River to take a photo of the wind mills.

IMG_4302 I’ve been meaning to stop and shoot these things for a long time. They’re friggin’ HUGE! Each spoke off the fan has to be hauled by an extra-long semi truck.

IMG_4315 The viewpoint over the Columbia River.

Columbia Panoramic shot of the Columbia from the viewpoint above. Six shots merged together made this little beauty. (Click on it to see it larger)

IMG_4320 It was insanely hot!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Finally working again

I just finished up two newsletters while back in Coeur d'Alene for a few days. One is for the Booster Club at North Idaho College, where I've previously designed a new layout and five previous issues already. The second is a new project, the Friends of Tubbs Hill Newsletter.

It didn't take me long to finish the 8-page B.C. letter, as I have it already set-up in an easy template, but just as I thought I was finished I noticed I had neglected the front page entirely! So, instead of rearranging the whole thing I simply spent two extra hours whipping up this little guy (I wish I got paid by the hour on these...):

Then there was the Tubbs' newsletter. This was a small 4-pager that my journalism advisor hooked me up with. Relatively easy, I just redesigned the original (massive overhaul, but it was quick) so that it looks nothing like the original Microsoft Publisher templated mess.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Coeur d’Alene or Bust

It was my final trip back to Coeur d’Alene while still a resident of North Idaho, so I took my time driving from Portland toward Canada. I stopped at Multnomah Falls again (see below, compared to last year), although I think I like the photo from last year better.

Driving the new Jeep was also pretty much awesome; it was so incredibly smooth and very nice to sit in for over six hours, I must admit that even with an average gas mileage of just under 18 miles-per-gallon, it was well worth the added comfort.

Here is Mt. Hood (I think…) from my side mirror as I drove along the Columbia River:

Following that, I was incredibly interested in how things looked through the side mirror (almost too interested, as I hit the rumble strip along the side of the freeway once or twice whilst gazing behind). I couldn’t believe how clear things were, but what caught me the most was looking at a picture-in-a-picture; I will definitely try more of these:


So, even though it was hot, and I turned the AC off while climbing up the hills, the warm breeze wasn’t all bad. I IMG_4150couldn’t open the sunroom since it was mid-day and I feared burning my ears and arms, but the trip overall was quite pleasant. I seem to like driving long distances alone much better than previous endeavors, except when I want to show someone a mini-tornado – I guess the next best thing is simply to snap a photo so people don’t think I’m a lunatic. Right behind a tractor, there swirled one of the biggest dirt twisters I’ve seen in a long time:


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Coldplay Concert Rocked

Last night Holly took me to Coldplay’s stop in Clark County on their “Viva la Vida” tour. I may have only been to three concerts before this – The Killers (they sucked), Blue Man Group (is that really even a concert?) and Jack Johnson at the Gorge (way rad) – but this was easily the best outdoor event I had ever witnessed.

Standing next to my fiancée as it got dark while watching one of our favorite bands was pretty much as good as summer gets. Then I had to go and ruin it on the drive home with a speeding ticket just before our exit (76 mph in a 55… ouch).

Anyway, we took some cool photos and videos (even with my cheap, small digital point-and-shoot that I had to sneak in the venue):

IMG_0425 During “Yellow,” there were huge balloons everywhere. When they popped, yellow confetti exploded every which way.

IMG_0418 Chris Martin and his guitarist at the far left of the stage. I still don’t know how they look so clear in this picture, the shutter was on 1/8!

IMG_0444 We were pretty lucky. Twice during the show Coldplay ran into the audience to smaller stages in the crowd to sing two songs. In this picture, they ran into the grassy area behind us (we had seats) to sing, and the crowd went nuts. Aside from a “cell phone wave,” they also sang “Billie Jean.”

And here’s a video of them singing “Viva la Vida.” This was right after Chris Martin sang a solo in the crowd, so he had to sprint back to the main stage to get ready for this AWSOME song. He was obviously winded as the song began.

Friday, July 10, 2009


the river
On Sunday afternoon, Gene and I decided to head up the North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River. It was awesome to begin, fishing was OK (we only caught four but skunked on Crawdads) but then the storm set in. We got to our spot around 4:30 and the lightning, thunder and pouring rain hit around 11.
Even though, we took some cool photos, as the length of river we camped on was gorgeous and completely hidden from everyone else – as far as we were up the river, only a few 4-wheelers broke the noise.

IMG_4006 That’s me in the bottom right
Cutthroat Trout #1
We made a rock sculpture … the beer is for size comparison

Thursday, July 9, 2009

New Car

It seems like just yesterday I was writing “Ode to Yoda.” Well, perhaps it’s time to start penning “Ode to Buick.”

You see, I just drove my new car for the first time today, and holy hell was it nice: a 2006 Jeep Laredo that I am buying from the future mother-in-law.

Here’s a pic the new rig:


Now, only one thing concerns me: it’s a 4-wheel-drive V8. Yeah, V8. No wonder it jumped when I pounded the gas pedal to begin, there’s a damn beast inside this thing! Anyway, aside from a few less MPG, I’m actually stoked for the extra power: I was swerving through traffic with ease on my way out of Eugene (all legally, of course). And the 4x4? I can’t wait for snow this winter! Portland may not get much, but I’m going to rally the hell out of it.

What’s more, I’ve always wanted an SUV, so now looks to be better than ever since I’m moving to a new city, looking for a new job – I might as well enjoy a new car. Especially a car I’ve always admired, I mean, who doesn’t like Jeep?

See you on (and off) the road.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Ripped Off!!

Lately I’ve been on a photo frenzy, trying to rally as many sweet shots of my hometown as possible before bouncing to Oregon. And while I’ve never considered myself more than a novice at the photographic art, I do take pride in knowing that I have successfully shot a few good slides in my attempts.

Knowing this, and the fact that I’m never shy of recognition (especially when I deserve it), I was aloof when I stumbled upon this little ditty at the Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce:


Instantly, I knew that photo looked familiar – and it wasn’t a photo I had seen somewhere before. Well, actually, I had seen that photo before.

Through my camera lens!

A few years ago I wrote a story about North Idaho College offering a sailing program, and the fact that this sailboat’s owner was also considering erecting an athletic sailing team since Lake Coeur d’Alene offers an immense opportunity to build a successful program.

So, I took a rental boat from work out one day and shot some easy photos with my old digital point-and-shoot. Nothing spectacular, but enough to add a visual element on the page. And in all actuality, the photo above was not even the photo I used in the paper.

Well, I went through my computer, and low-and-behold, look what I found: The rough, unedited, original photo that the Cd’A Chamber has been using for who knows how long:

Sailboat 2

It figures, one of the lesser-quality shots I’ve taken over the past years is the one that actually gets recognized. Anyway, I’ve since e-mailed the Chamber to see, firstly, how did they even get the photo? I don’t remember sending it anywhere. And secondly, will they at least put my name on it? They do on the others, so I might as well get some sort of credit.

After all, now I can say I’m a published photographer in something outside The Sentinel.

First attempt at Fireworks

I always dreamed of taking a great photo of the fireworks during the 4th of July in Coeur d’Alene. So, it was with a heavy heart that I worked at the Boardwalk Marina up until the show started. No lie, we undoubtedly have one of the greatest views for the show, as we sit upon the Marina store’s roof and get to hear the boom three times: once from the actual explosion and twice from the echo off the Resort and then Tubbs Hill.

A fitting final day of work? I could not be happier, even if I wanted to be partying it up and trying to get an even better view.

But there I was on the roof (with friends from Oregon, no less, who just happened to call earlier!), camera in hand but sans a tripod. Needless to say, you surely need one to make these look good. And while I tried setting the camera on a steady surface (the roof was angled poorly and my knee kept shaking), of 40 tries this was by far the only one that turned out – somewhat, to say the least.

I guess I’ll have to wait until the day after Thanksgiving to get my dream shot (or close to it … ), as that’s when the BIG fireworks go off thanks to Mr. Hagadone during the Lighting Ceremony.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Coeur d'Alene Summer Photos

Sunset over Tubbs Hill from Coeur d'Alene Lake Drive

Post Falls Days Carnival

Deer in velvet behind my Grandparent's house

Sunset over Tubbs Hill from Coeur d'Alene Lake Drive

Clouds at Sunset on the Post Falls Prairie