15 February 2010

Life and Death in Thesis and Flotsam

Today Kelley, Clara, Shelby (visiting Clara for a couple days) and I went to the coast.

We stopped at an outlook to see the ocean and stretch our legs before heading on down to Manzanita.

Sorry Shelby, I didn't get the best picture here!

I took the opportunity to document my first sculpture piece for my thesis. I was originally going to document this in Forest Park but I think that it fit much better in the coastal setting.

We took a walk along the beach after doing the photo shoot (which was my first ever, by the way).

We were silly. (Me and Kelley)

I just want to take a moment to point out how much I have come to love my camera. It's nothing fancy, its a Canon S2 IS point-and-shoot digital camera from 2005. However, the macro focus is obviously my favourite but I think sometimes that gets lost in my editing. So I shall here demonstrate the magnificence of my macro focus.

Tiny jellyfish from 4.5 feet away. It's the small light dot in the center.

Not so easy to see, huh? Well, how about this, I put my camera on the sand and used the macro to photograph this guy -- whom could easily be mistaken for a beaded drop of rain. Not to mention that you can see individual grains of sand.

Anyways, I just thought I'd demonstrate how fantastic this camera is. :0)

Back to the beach: As we walked along Shelby found a large... thing. All I know is that it belongs to some water creature and we all became convinced (with later discoveries) that it belonged to a seal.

As we walked further we found this intriguing atrocity. Grotesque and enticing. Putrid and irresistible.

There was nothing recognizable to identify it as anything to my uneducated biological knowledge but there were large vertebrae which made me think it was a large mammal. Who knows?

Then a couple feet away I found this pile of flesh. Well, I don't even know that I would call it as such at this point in its decomposition.

I'm pretty sure that was a land mammal like a deer or an elk. Check out those massive rib bones, not lithe swimming bones. However, like I said, I don't know much about marine biology.

Then later we found this poor fellow.

I don't know if this is a hole from a bite or something else, it seemed like a very regular and smooth hole, no teeth marks. Maybe a grandma shark with a powerful chomp?

Here's his face. He seemed pretty fresh with very few flies on him, even on the open wound.

And lastly, another massive vertebrae.

Then we walked back and had a good dinner at the San Dune Pub just up the street from the beach and a good time was had by all. And I got my documentation done too, that makes for a happy Hannah :0)

07 February 2010

Here Comes the Sun

Two blogs in two days? I know, I can hardly believe it myself but here we are. Today Joel and I went on a bike ride up to Smith & Bybee Lakes which are at the northern tip of the city limits. On our way there Joel spotted this house: with a purple lawn no less!

I'm not sure if they were crocuses but if they weren't they were very similar.

Then we rode along the Columbia Slough and I found a duck skull. There was also another skull close to it which looked more like a squirrel skull or some medium sized rodent.

And we also saw this hole in the clouds, you know what that means, good moods are around the corner!

Then we followed a bike path for a mile or two and then reached Smith & Bybee Lakes. This is the trail leading to the wetlands. Everything in this area is covered in bright green moss in the winter time.

At the end of the asphalt trail there was this "observation deck" with kodak-moment frames.

We saw a couple of little tiny bird nests, probably belonging to little hummingbirds.

The wildlife was nowhere to be seen but we heard lots of bullfrogs and saw the evidence of beavers. Apparently they are nocturnal creatures and you're more likely to see them in the middle of summer and not winter.

Then we road back just as the sun was coming out! We found this wonderful bike path/dike that followed the slough. We saw only one or two other bikers the whole time while we were on it.

And lastly, I decided to change my thesis idea again to something a little more akin to my previous work and less rigid than what I had proposed initially. I also felt a little like I was pigeon-holing myself and the idea I have now is a lot freer and workable. I'm really looking forward to this work (fibers)! I'll keep you guys updated.

06 February 2010

Odds & Ends

Life has been more or less filled up with school and things related to school, just as I had anticipated. Now that I have a 5-page paper and presentation out of the way I'm not going to be as busy as I was the first week and a half of school. And now I have a little bit of time to write a blog post before I start at homework again.

The first business of note that will more than likely shock the pants off of a couple of you: I dreaded my hair.

I started it on December 29, 2009 and now this is how it looks. For those of you who don't know, I had dreads a couple of times while I was at MICA but it was never very good and the way that they would loosen up just drove me crazy and by that time I would end up just cutting off my hair (if you're on facebook, I have a couple of shaved head pictures in there...). Anyways, this time I employed all my felting know-how and have kept up with them so that they don't get loose. Because they're in such an early stage they're not completely "locked" yet. I don't know how long that process will take but trying to do it right this time and so far, I'm feeling pretty good about them.

Yesterday in Portland we experienced a rarity: sunshine and warmth! Its not fair to say that that is completely true, however, its a rarity for winter to have a warm sunny day. So I took the opportunity to work outside on homework and soak up the sunshine as thoroughly as possible. Today of course is grey again but I won't dwell on that too much.

So I ate lunch outside which was delightful. The bottle in the picture is of some homemade kombucha, we finally got a kombucha baby to make more again (our last one died in the summer time last year when it got too hot).

And while I was working this little guy said hello for a couple minutes.

I also snapped up a couple shots of the chickens hanging out. Here they are dust bathing. They were really funny, all lined up in a line along the garage.

I also found this bitty egg in the middle of our yard. I'm pretty sure it doesn't belong to our chickens because it was so darn small and when I cracked it open I'm pretty sure the yolk was in transition to becoming a recognizable embryo. But it matches the colors of eggs our chickens lay and because it was so small it would make sense that it was in a weird spot because the chicken didn't realize it was an egg coming out and not a poop (which happen to be slightly larger than this egg). Imagine if you will the egg being the size of your index finger curled over and touching your inside thumb joint crease. That's how little it was.

And here is the only thing growing in our yard at the moment. I'm a little nervous that its so warm right now and how big they are because if it gets really cold again (below freezing) I'm afraid we're not going to have any onions or garlic. I don't know if they'd be able to withstand that much cold. In other news, some garlic that I planted last year never came up but this year, they are! These are the fellas I planted this season.

In other news, Orson is still being super cuddly.

And some remaining Christmas things. With some of Joel's Christmas money he got these patches (places he's lived) for his bike bag.

And I made Clara this sheep for Christmas.

That's about all. Not a whole lot to report or show. Last night Clara, Joel and I made dinner together and it was really fun. We made egg rolls, black bean and garlic beef and fried rice. It was the equivalent of getting Chinese "take-out" except there was no high fructose corn syrup or msg. And it was way more fun to cook together than to wait around until the food gets there. Cooking together is one of the most fun things to do when everyone works together and it comes out well. :0)