Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Pacific Crest Trail

We finally made it out for a hike in the Cascades. We walked along the Pacific Crest Trail for a couple of miles with the ostensible destination of Commonwealth Basin, but everyone got tired before we made it so we turned back. It was a wonderful day in the forest.

2 Months Old

Lochlan is two months old today!


Yes, we went to Kentucky for the 4th of July. Why? Amy's mother's family is from Louisville, and the Faust's were having a reunion. Linda really wanted her whole family to be there, so she and Dan generously offered to fly everyone out for the big event.

Kentucky in July is pretty hot (94 degrees) and pretty humid (85-100% humidity most days). However, we did not let that stop us from having barefoot races in Carol & Bill's enormous backyard! Their house was built on part of what used to be the hay meadow of a big farm. The kids loved the rural feel of the area, with the ponds, fields, tractors, and (my personal favorite) fire flies, Pyractomena sp.

In addition to the family reunion, we also visited a farm in Indiana and went to the Six Flags in Louisville. We definitely had some fun moments, and I know Liam had a blast playing with his cousins, but it was pretty bracing for us to be in Kentucky--Amy and I felt like fish out of water most of the time. (I'm speaking here of Kentucky generally, not how we felt around Amy's relatives, who are all lovely people).

In any event, I'm glad we went, but it sure felt good to come home.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Two Articles on the Climate Crisis in Local Papers

I'm reading Tim Flannery's book The Weather Makers right now, so perhaps I'm a bit more alert to the presence of these stories, but it seems like the local news media is really starting to focus on what's happening to our atmosphere. Here are two recent articles from the Seattle Times:

West Coast climate change could threaten wine production, study suggests


Global warming: They're not laughing at Ron Sims now

Some choice quotes from each article, respectively:

"We say you will have a wonderful experience at Safeco or Qwest Field," Sims jokes, "because you'll be able to fish from the stands."

The West Coast would experience one of the biggest changes in season, resulting in a significant alteration to the quality of its grape harvest. Suitable grape-growing areas in California would shrink to a narrow coastal band, the researchers said, while premium wine-grape areas would shift into the Pacific Northwest and New England.

Hopefully, as Flannery predicts, the climate crisis will become THE issue, and we will continue to see stories like this every day--to the point that everyone begins to take the problem seriously enough to act.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Excellent Documentary on Peak Oil

Leave it to Australia (the only country in the world that uses more oil per capita than the U.S.) to produce an amazing documentary on Peak Oil. Even better, you can watch it for free on the web, here.

As one of my profs from grad school, Donald Miller, used to say, "When a thing is unsustainable it tends to stop."

Accident Follow-Up

Sadly, the driver of the car that rear-ended us died:

Seattle man dies in traffic rear-ender near Gardiner
A two-car accident Saturday afternoon on U.S. Highway 101 near Gardiner claimed the life of an 88-year old Seattle man, with minor injuries to two of the other four people involved.

According to the Washington State Patrol, about 4:08 p.m. June 24 a 1991 Mercedes two-door was trailing a 2004 Toyota Matrix southbound on Highway 101 approaching Orcas Road, milepost 280 near Gardiner.

The Toyota reportedly stopped for traffic, and it was rear-ended by the Mercedes driven by Norman R. Cole, 88. Mr. Cole was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where he died that evening.

His car had three passengers. Jessica Weber Cole, 38, and Payten A. Stewart, 7, were transported to Jefferson Healthcare Hospital in Port Townsend for sore backs. Nicole S. Thomas, 15, was not injured but was transported to the hospital as a precaution, according to the State Patrol.

Amy L. Stevenson, driver of the Toyota, was not injured. Her vehicle sustained minimal damage and was driven from the scene. The Mercedes sustained an estimated $2,000 in damage and was towed.

The State Patrol lists the accident as under investigation.

Very, very sad, especially for his daughter and granddaughters. Fortunately, we are all OK--the article erroneously reports that Amy was the only passenger in our car. Also, the "minimal damage" to our car is going to cost over $6,000 to repair. Fortunately, Mr. Cole's insurance is covering everything.