Friday, November 20, 2009

Fivolous Friday: The Flying Finns

Just a quickie today. I've borrowed the idea from Chuck Goolsbee. It's a YouTube clip of Finnish rally drivers attempting deforrestation with their cars. Be warned, the wholesale destruction of some classic machinery, not to mention trees, telegraph poles and spectators, is sometimes hard to watch. But I guess this is what happens when you live through winters where there are only four hours of daylight every day. To avoid depression you can either drink industrial strength potato vodka or go rallying. Having seen Finnish rally drivers attack stages at 11/10 in the most atrocious conditions I confirm that they are fearless maniacs when it comes to competitive driving. Timo Mäkinen and Rauno Aaltonen were both products of this system. By the way, did you notice that the only car to come through that carnage unscathed was a Mini Cooper…? Enough said, enjoy the clip.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Side Bar Tidy Up

I've just had nother of my periodic clean ups of the side bar menu and removed a number of dead links. Caratacus has gone as have Jon Swift, Larry Ayers, Mingshi's Kendo and Green Ink. All have stopped blogging, apparently. The Postman has gone private. Guy Fawkes has taken himself off to another site which I can't be bothered to find. Wonkette has gone too wacky since Ana Marie Cox left. Iraq War News seems a little out of date. Lab Rat has closed his site and is now writing for Nature magazine and Tangled Bank has petered out. A few others are looking precarious but I'll leave them alone for now. I'll be happy to reinstate anyone who reappears or feels that I have been unjust.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

What We Did on Our Holidays. Part 4: Sailing to San Juan

OK, I couldn't resist the alliteration and poetic connotations in the title but I didn't really sail -I used the Washington State Ferry system instead

Back in the dog days of this summer the heat became too much. The mercury on my driveway indicated 106°F and the temperature inside my house was higher. Despite deploying every available fan the cloying calidity of the air became unbearable. It was time to get out of town and find a more temperate environment. After a little pondering I decided to visit San Juan Island here on my doorstep in Washington State. A few days later I drove the 90 miles or so out to Anacortes and took the ferry to SJ Island.
A schooner sets sail in the straits of San Juan de Fuca

Sea landscape
Magnificent sea and landscapes

friday harbor
Ferry Terminal, Friday Harbor, San Juan Island

Honestly I wasn't sure what to expect when I disembarked in Friday Harbor but I ended up being captivated by the town and indeed all of SJI. It seemed like the American equivalent of a Greek island and was quite enchanting. For nearly three days I ate, drank, kayaked, obeserved the resident Orca pod, seals and other marine life and also learned about the Anglo-American Pig War of 1859 (the only casualty was a pig). I also cooled down. Below are a few pictures which convey some of the feeling of the island. With any luck I'll be back again next year...

Kayaking -Vancouver Island is visible on right

Huge kelp beds were visible everywhere

salmon boat
A salmon boat getting ready for work

Gorgeous wooded shoreline

View across the straits of San Juan de Fuca

Can you spot the seal...?

seal highlight
By popular request, here's the seal. There were actually two playing although I can't see the other one, even at hi-res, maybe you can do better...?

Large jellyfish were omnipresent (ugh, no likee!)

MD selfportrait
MD, self-portrait

The Captain of this "vessel" isn't lacking a sense of humour

Monday, November 09, 2009

Postcards from The Road. 4. Humming Birds


I captured this image of a busy little hummingbird when on my travels in California. Not quite professional quality but not too shabby for an iPhone camera...

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Thought of the Day: Carbon Paw-print

According to an article in New Scientist, the carbon footprint of my resident feline is the same as a VW Golf. I can't help wondering if this is with or without a catalytic converter...!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

NW Classic Rally

As an addendum to previous post on the NW Classic Rally, here's a couple of YT clips. The first is a photo montage of the event made by the rally organizers. The second is a short segment shot by me through the windshield of the car as we blasted through the beautiful Oregon countryside. Enjoy!

Montage of the 2009 NW Classic Rally; the Dave Matthews Band provides a pleasing soundtrack

Co-driver's view as we push on hard: the inline 6 provides an even more pleasing soundtrack