Saturday, 26 March 2011

A day trip to Cicely, Alaska

OK, maybe it was really Roslyn, Washington.Roslyn(s) Cafe

Tawni and I drove East from her place to this small town that has had an interesting past. Founded as a center of the coal-mining industry in Washington, Roslyn next became a forestry-centric community and then most famously hosted the film crew for Northern Exposure. Today, it is hard to say what the population of 1000 souls can call its specialty. There is a fancy-shmancy new golf resort just West of the town, but I’m sure that the current economy is not passing on much of a benefit to Roslyn.

The BrickIt is interesting to walk around the town of Roslyn with the layout of Cicely so permanently etched in my head. There is still a store front for KBHR that has a lot of set pieces from Chris-in-the-morning’s exterior shots , but it is not in the middle of the main street as I so clearly remember. One store still has “Dr. Joel Fleischman” painted on the outside and at least one store that could have been Ruth’s market.

We decided to have lunch at the Brick. Unfortunately Holling and Shelley were out of town, but we still received great service. Their cross-cut fries and onion rings were quite tasty. I even had one of the local brews: Roslyn Brewing Dark Lager. It had a nice hop/malt balance. (Don’t let the look on my face fool you, it was an enjoyable beer.) As we sat and ate our lunch, watching some locals come in and a few other tourists, I kept expecting to see familiar scenes and faces. But, I had to keep reminding myself that all the interior shots were on a set, not in the real Brick.

Tawni and I were surprised that we didn’t see more Northern Exposure paraphernalia around town or in the shops when we realized that it has been almost 20 years since the show premiered and that Roslyn/Cicely doesn’t feature prominently in America’s collective conscience any longer.

Tomorrow, we’re going to track down Agent Cooper and maybe have some cherry pie and a damn fine cup of coffee. Just as long as there isn’t a fish in the percolator.

Snoqualmie Falls

Day two of our TV show tour of Washington took Tawni and me to the town of North Bend and Snoqualmie Falls to visit some sites familiar to fans of Twin Peaks.

David Lynch filmed portions of Twin Peaks in the two small towns of North Bend and Snoqualmie. The former is the home of Snoqualmie Falls which appears in the title sequence of the TV show, as well as an episode of Northern Exposure.

Our first stop was the main street of North Bend, where the only easily recognizable site is the “Double R Diner” that served a damn fine cup of coffee and cherry pie.

I was surprised when I went to the Tourist Information and asked for any handouts they had about Twin Peaks, and they didn’t have anything. Of course, after the realizations from the Roslyn tour, I shouldn’t have been surprised. Twin Peaks and Northern Exposure both first aired in 1990. (hmmm, what other great shows debuted that year?)

After a quick walk-through of the town, Tawni and I went up to Snoqualmie Falls.

The lodge at the top of the falls is Salish Lodge, which was deemed the Great Northern in the show. Most of the interiors of the Great Northern were filmed in Poulsbo on Bainbridge Island in the Puget Sound.

We had lunch at the very fancy lodge with a view over looking the falls. The food was pretty good, but it didn’t live up to the expectations set by the fancy setting and price.

With lunch, I did try another local beer, a Snoqualmie Falls Summer Beer; not a very original name, but tasty. A slightly hoppy pilsner, with an appearance and head that reminded me of a cream ale, such as Boddingtons.

After lunch, Tawni drove through the town of Snoqualmie. This town definitely looked like it would adequately represent a town that comes out of David Lynch’s imagination.

After this little tour to Twin Peaks an Cicely, I’ll need to go back and watch some episodes from both series.

Syncing Google Calendar to Apple iCal

I’m still working on migrating everything to my new MacBook Pro. One last thing I need to do is sync my iPod Touch to its true master. I’ve been waiting for the Snow Leopard upgrade (finished a couple days ago) and the synchronization of my Google Calendar to Apple’s iCal application.

I knew that with Snow Leopard it would be really simple to hook these two calendaring systems together, but it surprised me how easy it would be. The following is my best technical writer interpretation on how to accomplish this.

1) Open the iCal application

2) Select the iCal > Preferences menu item

3) Select the Networks tab of the Accounts dialog box

4) Click the plus sign (+) in the lower left-hand corner to add a new network

5) Complete the Add Account dialog box as follows:

a) Account type: select Google

b) Email address: enter your Gmail address

c) Password: enter your Gmail password

d) Click Create

You’ll now see your Gmail account in the Accounts sidebar

6) Take a look at the rest of the settings in the Accounts tab, but you shouldn’t need to alter anything for basic usage.

Yep… that’s it. Now I’m gonna plug the iTouch into the MacBook Pro and see what happens… I see another post in my future

Ecola State Park

Last week was, most likely, my last chance for a beautiful sunny weekend in Cannon Beach. Heading down Friday after work, I met up with Julie, Gary and Gary’s mom Stella for a nice dinner at Yummy! in Seaside. As always, it was a good dinner prepared by Cory (chef and owner) and the amazing cupcakes from Jimmy did not disappoint.

Saturday I had a nice slow morning around the house and a nice walk downtown. I met up with Gary for lunch at Lumberyard and we had a great meal and a couple of beers on the patio. The day was very sunny, making it feel warmer than it really was.

Julie, Gary, and I regrouped in the evening to watch the sunset fro Ecola State Park. I had my full camera setup and Gary had his point-and-shoot. It is always a learning experience taking pictures with Gary. He has such a great eye for composition and knows the park so well.

After our shooting session at the park, the three of us had a great Thai dinner at Cannon Beach Thai. All three of us tried a new dish, which is practically unheard of for us; and we were all very happy with our choices.

Sunday was a work day for Julie and Gary, so I had the day to myself. A long walk on the beach, a long sun-soaked lunch on the deck at the Warren House and nice nap prepared me for my drive back home to get ready for the week and the Autumn rains that are coming back to Oregon.

Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge

Today I went on a bird tour of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge with my friends Chris and Maureen. Chris had won the photo-tour at an auction last year and was nice enough to invite me along. Our guide, Roger, took us on a drive around the refuge pointing out and educating us about all the amazing wildlife in this area just north of Vancouver, Washington.

I learned a lot about the birds and also learned how difficult it is to capture these birds in their native surroundings. I took all of these images with my Nikon D300 and a 300mm f/2.8 lens (which was borrowed from a friend at work. I’ve also performed some drastic cropping on the images so you can see the birds as more than just a speck amongst the brown trees and bright white clouds.