January 9, 2006

Off to see the winter...

The winter in the 'Ribbean seas...

We leave tonight for twelve days on a catamaran in the British Virgin Islands. It's a wonderful privilege to be able to do this and a blessing to be going with such good friends. I'll report when I return.

January 6, 2006


As I walked around the loop today for my regular constitutional, I heard an unmistakable Scrub-Jay call. I spotted him in the hedge next to the Conservation District office. I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen or heard one in this part of the west side in the over fifteen years I’ve worked here.

When I lived near the bay on Foote St., they were regular in the neighborhood, which they shared with Steller’s Jays. I think Scrubs the most attractive of the jays in this part of the world, but I do have an especially soft spot for the Gray Jay. I was disappointed to learn, when I moved only 1.5 miles northwest in town, that Scrub-Jays apparently don’t live in my new neighborhood. I haven’t heard or seen one in eight years there.

Most of the maps that I see of distribution, including in my beautiful, new Sibley, don’t show south Puget Sound in the range of Scrub-Jays. One other guide I read years ago suggested that they’ve been moving north from the Columbia River. My near-west-side neighbors were evidence of that, as was today’s sighting 1.5 miles to the south.

Update (10/3/09): I've seen a couple of scrubjays over the last couple of weeks, in downtown Olympia, near the capital campus, as shown on this updated map.

Update (2/4/10): A few weeks ago I saw a pair of scrubjays on the east side, near Madison Elementary.

View Scrubjay Sightings in a larger map

January 3, 2006

Winter, but no Christmas

J and I attended "The Chronicles of Narnia" yesterday. I'm at a disadvantage in reviewing it, because I never read the books. I thought it was pretty good. There were good performances and the effects were effective. The interaction of the kids was realistic and provided a solid emotional engine to the story. I loved the variety of the creatures, especially the minotaurs and the centaurs. I was some disappointed in the general ugliness in the "bad guys." And, Santa? I'm sure it was in the story, but the chase that turns out to be not the witch, but the big, jolly guy felt more than a little manipulative.

At this point, I can't resist a comparison to "Fellowship of the Ring." In that movie, the pursuit by the Nazgul was real and frightening. No manipulation needed. I should resist these comparisons further, as I read the Tolkien books twice and have seen the movies two or three times. Still, I think that Peter Jackson's vision for his movies, both in story and the cinematography, was much bigger than "Narnia." Good movie, but not really a thrill.

January 1, 2006

New Year's Party Music Selections

The first five on the shuffle:

Leo Kottke - "Peculiaroso"
K.D.Lang - "Hymns of the 49th Parallel"
Beatles - "Abbey Road"
Laio - "Como Corre O Tempo"
Buena Vista Social Club

The second five:

Beach Boys - "Pet Sounds"
Stanley Clarke, Al Di Meola, jean-Luc Ponty - "The Rite of Strings"
Bourne, Quitsau, Madagascar Slim - "Tri-Continental"
Bob Dylan - "Blood on the Tracks"
Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grappelly - "The Quintet of the Hot Club of France"

A good time was had by all. Everyone made it to at least Mountain time.