Wednesday, December 30, 2009

High Power Lineman

video

In my humble opinion I think there are similarities between riding and flying or soaring. Listen to what this lineman says in response to people asking him if what he does is safe. Very similar as with riding. And of course he too has the right gear and training for what he does.

I think riding is safer though. What do you think?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Fred Jordan Mission Harley Ride


(Photo courtesy Greg's Blog)
I missed posting this event a couple of weeks ago but it's worth a look because the message never gets old.

Greg Laurie is a Pastor/Harley rider in Southern California. Here is a link to his blog on this event. Greg's Blog.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Hold is Off


I know it was a very short hold on blogging but after a few days I realized I missed it too much. And I realized that I would miss being linked with all of you. Thank you for your kind comments, I greatly appreciate them.

It didn't take long to realize that two of the three ingredients for a blog based around riding weren't going away. From the time I was about 10 years old I've enjoyed taking pictures and now I also really like to ride. I thank God for both of those blessings. The third ingredient is writing, and that for me has been the one I seem to struggle with. So with that in mind, I think I'll just post a little less often and write less.

But here's the crazy part. I've started another blog that I invite you to check out. It's called My Digital Worldview.  "Been Riding & Thinking About..." will continue to have a lean towards riding (sorry for the pun), while "My Digital Worldview" will have images posted almost daily with my view of the world.

Please let me know what you think. I value your comments and look forward to following your blogs in 2010.  I wish you and your family the best for the coming new year.

Mike

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Hold on Blogging



I just wanted to take a moment and humbly thank all of you who have visited and supported this blog for the past 4 months. Thank you for reading my puny little posts and for your kind comments and encouragement. I enjoy reading your blogs and and following what's going on in each of your lives and of course your adventures on two wheels.

After careful thought I've decided to back away from blogging for a time. Our 13 year old grandson is going through a difficult time in his life so Amber and I have taken him in to live with us. He needs family support and guidance so we want to be available as much as we can.  As all of you know, blogging is a time consuming affair. Let me say that another way - blogging can become a monster which always needs to be fed. For now I need to be freed from the monster.

I'd also like to say, if I've offended anyone with either content or comment I apologize. That was never my intent. Thinking back on some of my posts and comments I can see where at times I could have been more...shall I say, graceful. It's interesting how with online journaling you not only get a glimpse of the heart of others but you also see your own.

I'll be reading your blogs to keep up with what you're doing. And again, I want to give you a sincere thank you for making me feel welcomed in the blogosphere. I wish you a Merry Christmas and I wish you well for the coming New Year.

Ride safe and God bless.

Mike

Thursday, December 17, 2009

PGE Park


This is PGE Park, home to the Portland Beavers minor league baseball team and the Portland Timbers soccer team. Next year the Timbers will be a major league team for the first time.


Yesterday morning I attended a meeting at the park for a remodel expansion that will begin right after the first of the year. Among other things there will be 5000 seats added to the stadium.


I haven't been to the park in years. It was nice to snap a few shots as two groups of contractors did a "walk-around".

There has been a movement for years to bring a professional baseball team to Portland. It keeps getting shot down because the park is not big enough and it would make the downtown area too conjested. The other alternative is to build a new stadium but no one has figured out how to fund it.

In my line of work I deal with maintenance people not contractors but in this challenging economic climate I've starting to work with contractors too.


It was a good time of renewing old contacts and meeting new people.

When you visit Portland consider taking in a game. Public transportation makes getting to the park easy from downtown restaurants and hotels.

Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Vespas at the Mall


How about riding a Vespa home for Christmas from the mall? Friday afternoon I saw this interesting display. The weather outside was about 35F so I'm not sure how many takers they had that day.


Santas alternative method for delivery.


Fridays sunset from the mall parking structure.


As we approach Christmas I hope you're plans are coming together and you're surrounded by loving family and friends.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

San Juan Police Bike

 
A few years ago we were blessed to take a trip to Puerto Rico. This is a police bike in San Juan. Similar to the Northwest, they get a lot of rain. Many streets are narrow.  Maneuvering this around the city might be tricky at times.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Tunnel Vision


An underground tunnel at one of the hospitals in Portland. I've walked through this tunnel hundreds of times. For some reason today I thought I'd take a picture of it. Each cable, pipe, and conduit has a purpose. It all looks complicated but it makes sense to someone.

There's light at the end of the tunnel.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday Morning Drive

 
The drive through the country to the jail this morning had a mixed bag of fog with ice on the road. Last night I was thinking I might ride but that wouldn't have been a good idea. Riding is always the first choice but sometimes prudence wins out.

 

Looking forward to global warming again. This week should be "nice" as nice goes in December.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Downtown Shadows


On a suggestion from Bobskoot I thought I would post a couple of images from the Park Blocks in black & white. He thought the grey scale would give more contrast to the long shadows. I think he was right. Also in the color version I didn't noticed the globes on the lamp posts as they go off into the distance.



 The long shadows go all the way up the front of this church.

Thank you Bob for your suggestion. It's interesting how we all see things differently.

Winter isn't officially until the 21st. The short days and longs shadows make me kind of sluggish. I hope I'm not getting ready to hibernate.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The "Gingerbread" Benson Hotel


This is The Benson Hotel on Broadway in downtown Portland. Here's a quote from their Website. "Since opening in 1913, The Benson Hotel in Portland has graciously welcomed celebrities, CEOs and U.S. presidents. Now it’s your turn to discover the timeless beauty of our AAA Four-Diamond landmark, featuring Italian marble floors, Austrian crystal chandeliers and Circassian walnut paneling from Russia."

 
The Benson is one of the oldest hotels in Portland.  Every year at this time the chef and kitchen personnel do a fantastic job of replicating the hotel out of gingerbread and have it on display in the lobby.
 





As you can see, the detail on the front really matches the building. It's obvious a lot of hours go into making this. It's not only a display of workmanship but also of great patience. They make improvements each year on the design.

Have you made your gingerbread house yet?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Little Wandering Downtown


When the trees lose their leaves it just makes things look cold. Or maybe because it is cold, it also looks cold. The sun's lower trajectory this time of year gives unique tones and texture with the long shadows.


I haven't taken pictures in the Park Blocks for a couple of months, so I thought I would wander in the cold a little.

  
Most days the park is bustling with people during lunch hour. The cold weather has them staying inside on this day.


Finding a parking place was easy.

A couple of weeks ago Irondad posted an article about "Avoiding The Ambush" in which the author mentioned a favorite Portland bikers eatery called Kelly's Olympian. I did a drive-by so you can see it.


The parking along the curb is "motorcycle only". I've been here years ago, before it was a biker place. Hopefully in the near future Irondad and I can meet here to check it out.  If you can be in the neighborhood please join us.

It looks like parking is easy here too on cold days...


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Computer Woes


Yesterday afternoon my 5-1/2 year old desktop computer crashed. It's been showing signs of aging so it wasn't a complete surprise. I've been trying to squeeze every bit of life out of it. My laptop is a Mac and I prefer using the Mac operating system. The catch is, my employer's platform is PC based and even though the Mac can operate on Windows there are some complicated issues that are to boring to include here.


I spent the day working from home trying to patch the PC back together. Today brought back the adage of how the thought of losing something that has become such a part of life makes you appreciate it a whole lot more. That's the second time I've written that recently. I've got to stop and appreciate things more.   

In my work I do a lot of searches on Google to research maintenance parts for customers. I relied on it today for help with the computer. A couple of weeks ago in a post I asked the question, "what did we do before cell phones?"  It's also hard to imagine life without a computer.

I wish your computer input/output operation well...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Beautiful Brisk Day


A short post to report on the two mountains close to Portland.  Above is Mt. St. Helens as seen from the parking lot of the Washington State University Vancouver campus. Today was below freezing and we've had an east wind 10-20 mph, so visibility was very good. The mountains are stunning in appearance which gives them a "Wow Factor". Still, these pictures don't really show their true display today.


This view is from the campus.


Here's Mt. Hood as seen this afternoon about 12:30. When flying in or out of Portland most flight paths take a course very near Mt. Hood. People actually say out loud, "Wow"!

Hope you were able to ride today.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What's Your See Level?


Last Saturday afternoon I was involved in a project at home and needed a few things at Home Depot. We happen to have two Home Depots fairly close to us. In years past I would have jumped in the car or truck and driven to the closest one, get my items and shoot back home. These days any excuse to ride is standard operating procedure. And going to the furthest one with a loop through the country was almost mandatory.


I've passed by this barn many times but always going in a westerly direction. This time I was coming from the west and really saw it for the first time. Have you ever done that? You look at something many times but never really see it. As riders on two wheels we don't want this to happen to us. We want to see and be seen...always.

I witnessed a car accident late this afternoon. Someone in a long line of traffic waiting for a light allowed enough room for a Volvo driver to come out of a driveway to turn left onto the road. A guy in an Explorer was going fairly fast down the center emergency lane to make a left turn up ahead and they met pretty aggressively. It all happened very fast. No one was hurt but both were dazed. A lady and I stopped. She comforted them and made the phone calls while I directed traffic.

I remember last year when I did the same thing the driver of the Explorer did today only I was on the Vespa. Fortunately the other driver stopped just short of nailing me. I was only looking at and thinking about the turn I was about to make up ahead. I didn't see the opening or the car about to come through it. This could have been a deadly trap. When I think about the velocity with which the two cars hit today, had one of them been a bike I think the result would have been grim.

This has been a public service announcement to remind you to "see and be seen".

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Still Thankful

"For the first time in the city's history, the Portland Water Bureau issued an emergency boil-water alert late Saturday afternoon to more than 50,000 customers west of the Willamette River because of an E. coli contamination."

Above is a quote from the front page of this mornings Oregonian. Amber called me from the store late yesterday afternoon and asked if I'd heard anything about having to boil our water. She overheard some people talking about it at the store as some were loading up bottled water. For about an hour or so we weren't sure if we should be cautious with our water. It turns out that we're not in the affected area.

It got me thinking about the people who will have to alter how they do some things that are ordinarily taken for granted. We drink bottled water because our plumbing has old galvanized pipes, but we're use to having water on demand for all the other household needs. To think that tap water could no longer be trusted or even available is a serious proposition that would alter how we live.

My thoughts then turn to how grateful I am to have convenient necessities which I normally don't think about. It's a reminder that everyday is a day for giving thanks.

An announcement was made about 5:00 tonight that the boil-water alert had been lifted. Further testing showed no more signs of contamination. Taps should be run for about two minutes before drinking water again.


This was the view this morning a little after 7:00 outside one of our back windows. It's a black & white image and it's looking south. It shows the vivid contrast of the various kinds of trees against the new morning sky. It's as though each one is looking with anticipation of the new day and what it will bring. They're totally reliant on the sun and oxygen and water.

"This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." (Psalm 118:24)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday at the Mall


Look at what a beautiful day it was today, and late in November! All week it's been like this, except for yesterday, and I've been riding each day for work. Today I didn't really want to ride somewhere by myself again so I told my wife and oldest daughter that I would meet them at the mall for lunch. Wait, did I say I would meet them at the mall on Black Friday? What was I thinking?


One of the worst parts of this day at any mall is being patient, forgiving, and generous while making your way through the parking lot. No problem when you're on a bike. I figured I'd find a spot in my favorite corral when I come during the week to my "field office". These two guys work in the mall so their bikes won't be moving for a while.


Here's the food court. I should have a picture of what it normally looks like on a Friday. Here's where you do the same routine as in the parking lot except with tables and chairs.

In past years on this day I'm usually assigned to being the mule. I carry the shopping bags and occasionally shuttle them to the car. Today I spent a fair amount of time people-watching with my camera. I figured I'd take pictures of other mules and it might make an interesting blog post. But to my surprise I didn't see many.


What I did see were a lot of people using their smart phone while walking. They had the tell-tale head down and concentrating posture.

 


These shots were taken using stealth mode. Act like you're adjusting the camera and push the shutter button and hope the shot turns out.


It even worked on our oldest granddaughter. And hey look, she's messing with her smart phone like most everyone else.


I managed to pop this shot of the lady next to me and it turned into a two-for-one. She has an iPhone and I think she was watching a video. Or maybe posting on her blog about the guy next to her constantly adjusting his camera. What did we do before cell phones?


Another surprising observation was that many people carry their smart phone in their hand, choosing not to put it in a pocket, purse, or holster. This wouldn't work for me. I'd set it down somewhere and that would be the end of it.


These three guys look like potential mules. They have that classic blank stare and they're waiting outside the store for their significant other. They're too macho to go in Bath & Body Works. Some of that applies to me but hey, I'm on a photo assignment.


It was a good afternoon at the mall. It's interesting how having a blog causes heightened awareness about the surroundings. I've always enjoyed people-watching but have never done it with a camera. So when you go to your mall watch out for people adjusting their camera.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving




 (photo courtesy christiananswers.net)
Being thankful assumes that there is someone to be thankful to, although rarely do you hear the who people are thankful to but only that they are thankful. Being generally thankful is good I guess, but it makes one wonder who gets the thanks. In our politically correct era where God is being systematically removed it's good that we still have this holiday to observe.

I thought it would be interesting to take a brief look at how the Thanksgiving holiday came about. The following was copied from Christian Answers Website.


Pilgrim Edward Winslow described the Pilgrims' Thanksgiving in these words:
"Our harvest being gotten in, our Governor sent four men on fowling [bird hunting] so that we might, after a special manner, rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as... served the company almost a week... Many of the Indians [came] amongst us and... their greatest King, Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted; and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought... And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet BY THE GOODNESS OF GOD WE ARE... FAR FROM WANT."
George Washington, first President of the United States. Photo courtesy of Films for Christ. In 1789, following a proclamation issued by President George Washington, America celebrated its first Day of Thanksgiving to God under its new constitution. That same year, the Protestant Episcopal Church, of which President Washington was a member, announced that the first Thursday in November would become its regular day for giving thanks, "unless another day be appointed by the civil authorities." Yet, despite these early national proclamations, official Thanksgiving observances usually occurred only at the State level. Much of the credit for the adoption of a later ANNUAL national Thanksgiving Day may be attributed to Mrs. Sarah Joseph Hale, the editor of Godey's Lady's Book. For thirty years, she promoted the idea of a national Thanksgiving Day, contacting President after President until President Abraham Lincoln responded in 1863 by setting aside the last Thursday of November as a national Day of Thanksgiving. Over the next seventy-five years, Presidents followed Lincoln's precedent, annually declaring a national Thanksgiving Day. Then, in 1941, Congress permanently established the fourth Thursday of each November as a national holiday.
Abraham Lincoln statute, Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy of Wallbuilders. Lincoln's original 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation came - spiritually speaking - at a pivotal point in his life. During the first week of July of that year, the Battle of Gettysburg occurred, resulting in the loss of some 60,000 American lives. Four months later in November, Lincoln delivered his famous "Gettsysburg Address." It was while Lincoln was walking among the thousands of graves there at Gettysburg that he committed his life to Christ. As he explained to a friend:
When I left Springfield [to assume the Presidency] I asked the people to pray for me. I was not a Christian. When I buried my son, the severest trial of my life, I was not a Christian. But when I went to Gettysburg and saw the graves of thousands of our soldiers, I then and there consecrated myself to Christ.

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving with your family and friends. We have much to be thankful for.

Mike