Archive for September, 2007


Thursday, September 27th, 2007

…about the music

Unabashedly bright.

A noun. A verb. A season.
It’s here in Friday Harbor!
After so many years of living in a world of palm trees whose only color variant was the bright bulbs people wrapped around their skinny trunks as Christmas approached, well, nature’s own design sense is very refreshing.

An exbird in his field

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

…about the music


Lovely as this adorable fellow appears, he sits in my palm floating into whatever afterworld little birds float to upon hitting a house window at full throttle.
I heard the telling sound… thwackud!… from upstairs earlier in the morning. I hoped that like many of his luckier pals, this guy merely boomeranged and landed in a dazed state, with little cartoon stars swirling around his head for a while until he snapped to and was able to fly away, a tad more mindful of his direction.

In the afternoon I stepped outside to refill my tree feeders for the open woodland aviary I’ve quickly created. Juncos, chickadees, nuthatches, towhees, sparrows, finches, woodpeckers and others are on the dole from the benevolent Shapiro government. The percentage of my publishing income going toward raw oiled sunflower seeds is growing at an alarming rate. I looked down at my feet as I passed a window, and there on the deck was this beautiful kinglet. Motionless.

I’d actually never seen one before. I had to consult my trove of bird books to identify this creature, gifted with such beautiful markings and no larger than a hummingbird. I hope the next one I see is flitting among the seeds in the yard, and that the reflections in the largely glass house that shows me his world, never tempt him to leave it to visit mine.

Camel lot

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

…about the music

Not Purple Haze, but electric guitar, nonetheless.

In the past couple of weeks I’ve waxed enthusiastically about Mona the camel and blackberries. To most, these topics would be unrelated. But now, for your mindless surfing enjoyment, thanks to the fine lens of my talented photog friend on the island, Ken Serratt, we here at Notes From The Kelp Industries, Inc. proudly present the ultimate in full service blogging: Mona the camel gorging herself on blackberries.

It’s highly doubtful that the desert environs of East Africa or western Asia– the Dromedary’s natural habitat– have ever sprouted a single juicy blackberry. But then again, I can’t account for my cats’ love of fish, since kitties don’t swim. Mona has gleefully discovered a new food group, and a happier purple-lipped Dromeberry you’ve never seen.2.2l credit 4cyl quotes 4a20 distance-learning mba programs aacsb-accreditedunion 1sttech credithertiage federal credit union americancosmotology accreditation schools ofcheets credit 1000 vmkaccredited articles helthacredited apostolic bible fl in colleges Map

Everyone’s a critic

Thursday, September 13th, 2007

…about the music

A tune for you, my deer.

So there I am, in the studio this afternoon working out a new song on the guitar, and I look up and see this cutie staring at me. The pic could be captioned any number of ways, from “thank god, enough with the damn cellos and tubas already! Finally, some real music!” to, “oh, puh-leeze, just go back to your day job writing string quartets, for everyone’s sake.”

Baker’s berries

Sunday, September 9th, 2007

…about the music

Waltz for Baker’s berries.

Mt. Baker, that is. Since I do not bake. I make a mean chocolate mousse pie, but like my music, that creation does not involve an oven. Unless I’m doing something very wrong. However, if you put these berries in Mt. Baker, they would indeed be baked berries, smoldering yet still explosively sweet, I’m sure.

I felt guilty for eating all the berries in my last post, and so here are some from this afternoon’s stroll, volcanic backdrop provided for extra effect. I dunno what it is about my camera, a decent 8 megapixel pocket Nikon, but just for the record, to the naked, unenpixelated eye, Mt. Baker looms literally twice as large as it seems in this shot. My hand, for what it’s worth, is considered unusually small by everyone except the flies I swat and can only barely reach an octave on a piano. It’s fun to see it frighten all of Lopez Island with its threat of tossing berry bombs into the water and causing a tsunami. Since I am not only not a baker, not a concert pianist, but also not a photographer (I just play one on this blog), perhaps some dear reader can enlighten me about this odd visual phenomenon.

Berry abundant

Thursday, September 6th, 2007

…about the music
A berry happy ascent.

Driving around in recent weeks, it’s been common to see people standing with their backs to the side of the road, poised in odd positions. Stretched. Squatting. Contorted in some game of imaginary Twister… all in pursuit of the most amazing blackberries imaginable.

They are everywhere I look and in places I haven’t looked yet. Each time I leave the house I stumble upon another cache of this divine vine. The deer know where the stash is, too, and I’ve returned to formerly lush thickets that have been devoured between my first visit and my next. I never thought I’d be competing in the wild with animals, but hey, my survivalist instincts are coming out now and it’s an earnest game to see who can find the ripest and still-untouched bramble, and not be too scarred by the thorns for their effort.

Above is a group I’m keeping my eye on. I’m ready to jostle the neighborhood buck out of position at any moment, and pounce the second they ripen. I should have had a close-up photo for you of an overflowing handful of the drippingly sweet delicacies I’ve been picking each time I take a walk. But I ate them all. Every last one. Yum yum yum. Selfish, selfish, selfish. Ahhhhhh.

Forward, from backward

Tuesday, September 4th, 2007

…about the music
Laughable, to some.

Well it had to happen sometime: a slip of the typing finger and whoops! Lots of code I had written to create my semi-custom blog layout… gone. There’s that familiar feeling of one’s heart leaping up one’s esophagus (a tight squeeze, for most), the quickening pulse, the self-anger (I can’t friggin’ believe I just did that ), the denial (surely the information I idiotically deleted is lurking somewhere), the disappointing realization that nope, it’s not lurking anywhere, and finally, at least in my case, the sudden turnaround of thought to, ok this is actually a good thing because it was time to try a new look anyway.

At least, that’s what I try to fool myself into believing.

So here we go, after more hours of editing code than I had planned to do at 4am this morning: New Look Number One. Good enough until I get bored and need to procrastinate some more on my composing, at which point New Look Number Two could show up at any time without warning. In fact, had blog-surfers been visiting my URL in the wee hours of the morning today, they might have been amused at rapid-fire changing of skins for Notes from the Kelp, as I tried on 30 or 40 different looks much in the way a woman might desperately fling clothes from her closet when she can’t find the right thing to wear.

I’m not sure how this blog will eventually dress up, but at least for now it’s clothed enough to go out in public. Now it’s on to some music writing, since I’ve just written enough code for a decent intermezzo.

A cove for any creature

Sunday, September 2nd, 2007

…about the music
Eagle Cove of the big rock meets my “Point Lobos” of the Big Sur.

Late this afternoon was perfect for driving around the island and exploring a few new places. 55 square miles is enough to keep the senses entertained while doing one’s part as a fine American to guzzle precious fossil fuels. Since moving here this spring, driving more than about two miles at a time has become an unusual event. After 24 years steeped in L.A.’s maddening car culture, it almost feels special to get in the vehicle with the intent to actually go someplace we couldn’t walk or bike to if we wanted.

One of the coolest things about San Juan Island is its topo-diversity. The north end is denser, filled with thick, old-growth forests that reach out to oyster-filled waters. The middle is a rolling, pasture and farm-dotted valley that’s home to grazing horses, cows, goat, sheep, alpaca, llamas and a camel named Mona who was purchased on eBay. She’s not lonely; the loving owners got her a companion horse and they seem to get along well last time I passed by.

The south end of the island is, in some parts, strikingly barren and always very compelling to me. It reminds me of sections of California. Minus the cars, which is a plus (this is my kinda math). Above is the Eagle Cove area, and whether I were an eagle or a gnat, I’d want to fly around here, for sure. I’d wager that a camel would be happy in this spot, too. Buy It Now, or start bidding.