Sunday, June 28, 2009

Mountains in the Mirror

Bus depot in Weed, Ca.

Sidewalk and hill in Weed, Ca.

6.28 Grueling bus ride so far. Absolutely full, not even one spare seat. Made it to Medford to the rest stop. I had a good banana muffin and not enough coffee to keep me awake, which is the right dose. Many things wrong. There is a kind of moldy smell, which could be certain passengers or the air system or maybe the bathroom, which smelled really bad and which could drift out over the whole bus. Many rude passengers, all right around me. A girl right behind me kept me awake with bouts of laughter, loud talking, and kicking my seat. A big guy next to me stuffed his bag on top of my guitar and changed his socks in the seat, leaning the feet into the aisle. The couple in front of me are watching episodes of "Friends" with Korean subtitles on a handheld and due to ear buds in both their ears, giggling loudly. The woman right next to me has her bags all over the floor so I cant put my feet anywhere but straight in front. She's sleeping, pretty much spilling onto my side. That's it for rude or annoying people next to and directly behind me. Further back, some woman is coughing repeatedly. Some guys in the back row were blasting ipods so loud the driver came back to tell them to lower it.

There was an unusual incident in southern Oregon. Right after Roseberg an old black guy asked to get off. He said "I wanna get off here." The driver said "you're in the middle of nowhere." And pitch dark too. But it didn't phase the old buzzard, he wanted to get off the bus, and did. Maybe he wanted to go to the bathroom, or maybe he wanted to walk. After a bit the driver got off to make sure he hadn't passed out under the wheels, then got back on and drove onward, lighter by one passenger.

I kept falling asleep in spite of the discomfort and noise. That worried me. There was probably not enough oxygen in the cabin to keep me awake. I woke up in front of Mt. Shasta. It was lit too strongly by the rising sun. I tried to get self portraits in the bus glass with the mountain behind.

Sidewalk in Redding, Ca.

Trappings for Fourth of July decoration, Medford, Ore.

Temporary fireworks shop, Medford, Ore.

Lake near Mt. Shasta, Ca.

Self portrait on bus, Mt. Shasta, Ca.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Sidewalk Green Room

6.26 In a very lush neighborhood in Portland. Going down these sidewalks I thought of Greg Noll's description of the Green Room that occurred when a big wave broke over him while standing up in a big barrel. These branches were so big, overhanging, and green that they were a sidewalk green room.

Due to the size of the trees the sidewalks were affected greatly by their growth. The roots created ripples, wavelets and currents in the sidewalk. Some of the humps and cracks were so big it required a kind of technical skating to ride over them, hopping or ollying the small curbs, gaps, and transitions they caused. One section of sidewalk I photographed was cut away and shaped to allow more lawn and room for the trunks and roots.

Two Wheel Skate Trick Competition
My route took me downtown where I watched a skateboard competition. The theme of the competition was the manual, meaning that every trick was supposed to involve a two wheel balance on the skatboard. The two wheel requirement made all the tricks much more difficult. I thought the skating looked really technical, and less stunt driven. I guess the entertainment value was less than most street comps, but I appreciated the control the skaters showed in mastering the two wheel manual variations of standard tricks.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Street Fair Daring Deeds

6.25 Down in Portland my friend K and S and their daughter took me to a street fair and counterculture event called Last Thursday. This differs from First Thursday, a more mainstream artsy street fair.

Some of the standout sights were a couple dancing on a Winnebago and rocking the whole rig. A group of stilt walking acrobats, shrouded in white, did some swing dance lifts and flips that endangered anybody within ten feet. A ragtime and zydeco band was formed around a beautiful upright bass and an upright piano so beat up I couldn't hear it until I got right next to it. Dancers flowed around to the complex rhythm.

Dont Skate Over an Oregon Stick

6.25 My friend DM took his son LM and dog M to excercize and bike at the West Linn park and I came along with my board. The parking lot was rough and didnt have much skateability. Off to one side however, were some bike paths that led into the woods. The trees were a small type of redwood or other straight trunked, tall tree. The path wasn't steep but incredibly smooth and fast. There was a hairpin turn at the end that was tough to make. If you play the clip you can hear where I crunched some leaves going around the hairpin, cutting the corner off a bit.

There were a lot of sticks and a few pebbles which meant possibilites of hanging up. The swerving in the clip is more to avoid sticks than to carve off speed. On the walk to photo the route I noticed a stick across the path that wasnt there when I skated it. Then on closer inspection I saw it was a type of slug. Unlike the banana slugs in Santa Cruz which are bright yellow, this one was brown and clearly evolved to have a stick like camoflage. Not great camoflage to avoid getting run over by bikes, but a skateboarder will avoid you whether you are a slug or a stick.

Outside the path a pair of big hawks circled but they were too far away to shoot with my cel camera.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Vine Row Extention Road

6.23 After the curved corner run I crossed the heavily trafficked street and got closer to the vineyard. The rows of vines ran straight up the hill away from my position below. I stood at the top of a street which, with a fence in between, abutted the rows in a neat parallel. It reminded me of the rows of trees that you find at the edge of the big mosques in Spain, as in Cordoba. The rows of pillars extend into rows of trees in a continuous line. It was a beautiful start to a skate run.

There was a side turnoff that went uphill and I wanted to turn up it and make a big climb and drop, sort of a big frontside carve and arc up the side hill and back onto the main street of the run. It wasn't as easy as I thought, because the street kind of dipped down then up, so I had too much speed coming up the side hill and couldn't make the turn without foot braking. The second time I tried it I got really close to the curb and drew out the arc. It was better but I still didn't get it quite right. There was a guy watering his lawn that I'm sure was watching me trying to get the maneuver right. After three runs from the top at the side street I gave up and just pumped and skated really fast into some carves. A red jeep was backing out of the driveway right at the corner which forced me to take the corner way to the left and kind of slowly. After the turn the street flattened out, but it was nice asphalt and I cruised along. There was a white barn at the end of the run which I shot without really stopping. I went up to a little parking lot and sort of tried to hot dog, kick turning slowly and walking the board. It seemed like a quiet place to do a trick or two in front of the barn, but somehow there was a car coming out of there so I felt a bit disappointed. Both the left turn and cul de sac ending had been messed up by cars and before that had been the clumsily skated turnoff hill.

This was a rare skate session that I really thought about stopping and interviewing people in the neighborhoods. Usually I am very focused on the session, trying to figure out the lines I'm going to skate, getting shots, and maybe trying to make two or three runs and not bother anyone. This time I was curious about the vineyard and the barn and it crossed my mind to do bring the residents into my project.