Saturday, June 8, 2013
Friday, June 7, 2013
Monday, June 3rd. Vancouver, Washington.
Day eleven of house sitting with Bailey and Murphy. Nerves are raw and fully exposed. Patience has run dry. Morale is low. Bailey's constant whining has driven Murphy and I to devise escape plans. For Murphy, that means an innocent request to be let outside to relieve himself, knowing full well that Bailey is too short to see over the windowpane. If he were three inches taller, Bailey could witness Murphy's furious digging at the bottom of the wooden backyard fence. You don't get to be Murphy's age without becoming crafty. I wish him luck, but have to save my own ass first. In eleven days, this has become a Lord-of-the-Flies dog-eat-dog situation.
Early the next morning, I pulled the old "Hey, is that a duck riding a unicycle?" gag, while pointing out of the living room window, enabling me to slip out long enough for a photo shoot at Gary Mathis' Ascari bicycle shop. Gary is an old southern Oregon hot rod pal, now relocated to the Laurelhurst neighborhood in Portland. He shares the high end bicycle shop with some "extreme" woodworkers, who blew my mind with their out-of-the-box approach and over-the-top skills.
Wednesday, June 5th.
With Bailey's obsessive omnipresence, escape seemed impossible - until Mark Brislawn ("Briz") called, with a reminder of the evening car gathering at nearby Portland International Raceway ("PIR" in local speak). Yes! I could almost taste the sweet fresh air...
Next time: The shocking conclusion of the Swimming to Vancouver series! You don't want to miss this one!!! Meanwhile, be sure to visit our corporate office and qualify for valuable prizes: www.gossonbrosracinglibrary.com
Monday, June 3, 2013
Or you could end up Out of luck At the hands of cardsharks
As barometric pressure slowly rises, there develops a brief transitional period, just prior to the ensuing cloudburst. This is the "calm before the storm". It's actually a moment of pressure filling the last remaining spaces between the oxygen and water molecules, until the storm cell becomes too dense to stay afloat in the sky and must present itself to gravity, which delivers the goods to us, to praise or curse.
And so did the dark lords of meteorology deliver to me the might of a thousand deluges. They came in the form of two seemingly innocuous print deadlines - one magazine and one book. The magazine deadline was met head-on without incident - a mere splash in the pool - yet strenuous enough to leave me somewhat weakened and vulnerable to the book deadline - which attempted to drown me in a tsunami of last minute challenges.
Okay, that's a bit over dramatic, but it was fun to write. The crux: Three days before the book deadline, I had to leave town for a previous commitment: Two weeks of house sitting for dear friends in Vancouver, Washington. I had happily agreed to this arrangement six months previous, but now suddenly perceived it as yet another deadline to contend with. That dour outlook didn't last long though...
I arrived in Vancouver refreshed and eager to do battle with Mr. Deadline. After a good night's sleep, I Felt Good, like James Brown.
On book deadline day, hot rod superhero Mark Brislawn ("Briz") dropped by to rescue me with much needed insight into subject matter beyond my realm of experience. As always, good friends to the rescue! Thanks to Briz' expertise, I made the deadline with 47 minutes to spare.
We celebrated with the traditional Friday night gathering of the Slo Poks - Vancouver's seminal hot rod club, steep in history and skills - shallow in political correctness at these closed club meetings, where no women or children are allowed. The food and conversation is always exquisite. Depending on your point of view, the same could be said for the farts and cigar smoke, I guess.
Random shots of other Slo Poks cars.
The next day, a rat-in-a-maze drive eventually delivered me to Chip Starr's shop in North Portland for a photo shoot. Chip and I met at Woodburn Dragstrip many years ago and became fast friends (so to speak). He and Chip Sr. campaign the White Lightnin' Austin gasser - one of my all-time favorites. Chip's day job is providing high tech lighting for animated films, but his off hours are spent wrenching on hot rods - and his recent passion - sports car racing. Since I had the camera handy, I clicked off a few "non work" shots.
More activities are scheduled for the coming days. Besides grueling photo shoots, some leisure time is also on the agenda. So stay tuned for fun!