Category Archives: Weather


More hot. You stand slack-jawed and dumb, staring forward, a gossamer thread of drool swaying delicately from the corner of your mouth. The brain is fevered and broken, it cannot be helped.

A cool breeze allows a fleeting moment of mental clarity, and you realize that the new Coldplay album is awesome. So awesome. You remember those long, hollow nights right after you bought Stadium Arcadium, where you felt as though someone had carved a hole in your chest. The painful longing, the uncontrollable sobbing, wondering how in the hell could it feel this bad? How could it ever feel good again?

You remember the difficulty breathing, the long exhales where you promised yourself you would never breathe in, that you would never again summon the energy to inhale. But somehow, involuntarily, you would always take that next breath, and you would sob and curse yourself for it, for being weak, weak for breathing, but most of all weak for needing, needing in the first place.

Viva La Vida is nothing like that, nothing like Stadium Arcadium. This is actually good, like A Ghost Is Born good or Good News For People Who Like Bad News good. People are hurting no one but themselves if they don’t have it yet. Yes. They should go out and buy the new Coldplay. They should regret nothing. They should fix their shit.

This, this is what you want to tell people, but the breeze stops too soon. Fatigued with thought your head rolls to one side, and the spittle cuts loose.



It’s hot. So hot. 99 degrees outside, 99 degrees in here. It’s so hot that even the mountains are spontaneously combusting.

"No two mountains are not on fire."

Clothes are too burdensome, so I lounge around in my underpants. I sit here sweating away in my own home office, sticking to and peeling off my fake leather chair as I shift around, trying to eek some comfort out of this day.


Meanwhile, my neighbors continue their weekly three-day drinking binge in the backyard, which they host with such regularity that they have already worn away most of the grass. They don’t seem to mind so much. A cube of Icehouse is cheaper than a tank of gas, now more than ever. Beer is the new Disneyland.

This morning I went mountain biking at Knebal Springs up near Mount Hood, hitting the trail early to avoid the midday heat. It was a killer ride that I’ve done a number of times before, a nine mile singletrack loop with a thousand feet of elevation. The lupine is in full bloom, and the trail cuts right through some huge fields of the stuff.

It was a hot and dusty ride, and the straps on my backpack are now crusted with salt, where my sweat soaked them completely through. After getting back into town I left my bike in my Subaru for half an hour, and when I went to pull it out I nearly burned my hands on the frame. It was six hours ago that I took my hydration pack out of my car, and the water in it is still hot enough to steep tea.


Buried deep in our chests, each Hood River citizen is now required to wear an economic growth inhibitor at all times. The weather-changing device atop City Hall is now operating at full power, effectively deflecting all tourists and their valuable Canadian dollars away from our town.

We’ve started referring to this month as June-uary, and at this point we’re beginning to lose all hope for the summer. It’s 50 degrees and cloudy here, and if this miserable weather pattern keeps up much longer there’s risk that we’ll all go back into our off-season hibernation. Frigid conditions aside, I’ve still gotten in a ton of kiteboarding this season, and last week I rode my custom 5’3″ North Pacific in some of the biggest, glassiest swell I have ever seen at the White Salmon Bridge.

Meanwhile, I’ve been reading the new Aaron Hillegass book and trying to teach myself Objective-C and Cocoa. The book is wonderful, but every time I try to improve my programming skills I feel like a dog trying to walk on its hind legs. My knowledge of Ruby and other object-oriented languages definitely helps with the learning curve for Objective-C, and my familiarity with a few different MVC frameworks, including Rails and CodeIgniter, helps with the underlying concepts of Cocoa. I recently spent an inordinate amount of time researching event listeners and how they’re manifested in JavaScript, and as a result my crude understanding of event-driven programming is nonetheless sophisticated enough that I can recognize it in unfamiliar territory.

This ability to abstract knowledge from the specific to the general is what separates man from the lichens and mosses of the world, and I take pride in that fact. Even so, I always feel clumsy and awkward as I stumble blindly through a new language or a new programming concept. I can’t shake the feeling that I’m making this harder than it is, that these are ideas I would have learned the first semester of my freshman year, in an Intro to Computer Science course.

That said, my education wasn’t in computer science. It wasn’t then, it isn’t now, and it won’t be in September. My areas of study included music, jazz, writing, English, philosophy and journalism. And yet I keep inexplicably gravitating towards programming, perhaps because I enjoy learning, perhaps because I’m a glutton for punishment, and perhaps because I have this awful habit of seeking out and doing the things that I find most frightening and difficult.

Ergo Oregon, ergo kiteboarding, ergo interaction design.


Today my friend Jody and I went on a 17-mile mountain bike ride along Surveyor’s Ridge, and in spite of our attempts to go way too fast and pitch off cliffs we emerged from our expedition largely unscathed. The forecast called for anything from freezing temperatures to rain to snow, and while it was a brisk 38 degrees when we started at the trailhead, the day turned out to offer some perfect biking weather. We were treated to hardly a drop of rain, and the sun was even kind enough to make the occasional appearance.

The fall colors are in full swing, the oaks having completely yellowed and the maples absolutely on fire with the season. Despite some amazing overlooks along the trail, Mount Hood never shrugged off its cloak of clouds, so we had to imagine what the peak must look like all draped in fresh snow. I could just barely make out Cloud Cap, and it is obviously buried under at least a foot of snow at this point. This was not the weekend to go camping.

In other news, my neighbors moved out a week ago, but I swear that I am still hearing music, voices and other noise coming from downstairs. I think ghosts have moved in. Ghosts that flush the toilet.

Sum of All Futures

After a three-month leave the rains have returned. They arrived Saturday night as we were camped at 6,100 feet up near Cloud Cap on Mount Hood. We had a wonderful evening gathered around the campfire with bellies full of Pibber, and irreverent of our most optimistic hopes it never dropped below freezing that night. Thus, despite the patchy snow in the campground we were treated to a night of rain, and I awoke with a river running under my tent.

We clutch our season passes in our tiny meaty fists even though it is not yet snowboarding season, and with the whispers soothsaying the end of the kiteboarding season having now reached a chorus, it is unclear how we will busy ourselves in the coming weeks. Gin has the potential of being an obvious component, but if we are truly honest with ourselves we have, to be blunt, more than enough shit to do.

The future is uncertain in much the same manner that a particle’s history is uncertain. I’m taking up an awkward space, where I feel as though my current position is merely the sum of all futures. There are so many paths from this point, so many damnable paths, and most of the desirable ones run right through four-hour exams and gauntletian application procedures. Intellectually I have a good idea where I want to be a year from now, but geographics are an entirely different matter. My future could hold anything from nine months of incessant rain, to ski resorts built on piles of garbage, to trees adorned with hippies and chains.

The good news being that it would involve the love of my life finally living in the same state as I. Perhaps the same zip code, even.


I didn’t know the definition of overpowered until I tried kiting at Rufus today.

The wind in the Gorge has been absolutely nuking solid for the past week. It’s been windier than stink, and being a kiteboarder I’ve been sadly beached for the last couple days as the windsurfers have ripped it up. Oh well. They deserve a chance for some fun… I’ve been kiting nearly four days a week for the entire summer while they have been sitting on the beach waiting for the wind to pick up, so I suppose I can allow them a week of the good stuff.

A couple days ago I jammed across the bridge after work to take some pictures at The Hatchery of riders practicing for the Freestyle Frenzy competition. The place was a mad house, and it took me nearly an hour just to find a parking spot. Cars were double and even triple parked, and the lot scene, with its haphazard fashion and people scattered about in lawn chairs clutching cans of Rainier, reminded me of a Phish concert more than anything else.

I had been shooting photos at The Hatch for over an hour until I had finally gotten warmed up, and was dismayed when I realized that I had already shot through my 2GB card. Yup. I had shot 400 pictures, 99% of them rejects, and it wasn’t until that point that I felt like I was finally hitting my stride. For my final hour I traded off between deleting and shooting, which while being terribly inefficient was completely necessary to grab some more decent shots.

Next week my Canon L lenses show up, which while greatly improving my ability to take kick-ass photos will also certainly increase my stress associated with exposing my camera to the elements. Blazing sun and 100 degree temperatures, coupled with 30 mph of blowing sand and river, don’t necessarily create the ideal studio environment.

The wind at the Event Site has been so wonky the last few days that today I drove out east in search of some more consistent wind. I ended up at Rufus and proceeded to spend two hours on the beach, hemming and hawing about whether to put a kite in the air and go out on the water. The question was a valid one. The wind was blowing at a constant 30 mph, and there were fellows who had a good 40 pounds on me who were completely lit up on five meter kites. The smallest I had was a seven.

Finally a fellow I had met two years ago down in Los Barriles showed up, and after some deliberation he went out on his ten meter North Rhino. Now, even though this guy had a good 100 pounds on me and was built like a meat tree, his was sufficient inspiration for me to get my ass in gear and go kiting. I decided that I would take a single reach out, and if the conditions were truly uncontrollable I would come back and land my kite.

And that’s exactly what I did.

The story being that I made it back. These were some seriously crazy conditions at Rufus today, and two weeks ago they would have chewed me up something fierce. I had my seven meter kite completely depowered and completely sheeted out, and yet was still totally lit the fuck up. While nothing bad happened during my short session, I realized while I was out there that all of my energy and concentration was focused merely on kiting. If anything extraneous were to come along, from a freak gust to a rogue wave to a grain barge to a lost board to a dropped kite, I would have been fucked. Not only that, I would have been fucked in five foot swell, which is a new category entirely.

So that was that. I went out and I came back. All in all, I’m glad that I at least tried kiting today at Rufus, if only for an opportunity to experience those conditions and give myself a yardstick for measuring future sessions. It’s important to find and test these limits on occasion, for without knowing them it would be easy to develop a false sense of confidence in your abilities. It’s humbling sessions like this that keep you real.

After getting back from Rufus this afternoon I rigged up and went kiting at The Spit, and had a ton of fun in not-so-life-threatening conditions. Afterwards I rode my bike downtown and met Jason, Kelly and some friends at Double Mountain for beer. We alternated our activities between drinking microbrews, pulling hair out of a yellow labrador from Alaska, and laughing at a malamute that sounded like one of the Three Stooges.


Friday I traded some hours with Mark at the shop, scoring myself a three-hour lunch break that I split between eating and kiteboarding. The eating was good and the kiteboarding was okay… the wind was really light, and I only managed a few reaches before deciding it was best to come back in, and avoid getting stuck out in the middle of the river if the wind decided to die completely. It was the kind of session that we typically describe with a shrug and the line, “At least I got wet.”

Fortunately the wind had picked up by the time Bea and I closed the shop for the night, so we jammed down to the beach for an evening kite session. Bea tinkered in the shallows while I spent my time upwind playing in the swell, working on my toeside carves. After the session Topher gave me a ride to the parking lot in the back of his truck, and I headed back home for the late night that was to be.

Before they left, Jake and his gang of crag rats got me a growler as a “thanks for letting us turn your living room into a base camp, sleep on your floor, use your shower, and keep really weird hours” gift, sixty-four delicious ounces of Full Sail’s Son of Spot IPA. That night I invited some friends over, and before I knew it my house had filled up with ten people or so, many whom I did not know. I put everyone on a strict regimen of Full Sail and homebrew, and when that dried up we switched to Rainier and cigarettes.

While checking out my digs Jeff discovered I had a Wii, so the closing hours of the night were dedicated to some serious Wii Bowling. I could hardly keep my balance and lost to all my opponents by a scant handful of points, even losing the game where Wyatt and I bowled straight spares on all but one frame. Our party dissolved its little self at around 2:00 in the morning.

Saturday I was hung over. All day. I went to the Sandbar in the afternoon, hoping that the wind and sun would pull me out of my spinning fog and I could get myself in a mood to go kiting. No deal. I stood at the edge of the parking lot for fifteen minutes watching the action from the hill, and all I felt were pangs of jealousy for all the people who were out on the water and didn’t have headaches. I went home and slept some more.

Feeling much better on Sunday I went back to the Sandbar, hiked out to the launch spot and started pumping up my nine meter kite. In the time it took me to do that the wind had picked up, and before long I was hiking back to my car to trade the nine for my seven. By the time I got back to the launch spot the wind had calmed down again, all the way back to solid nine meter conditions, but I said fuck it and rigged my seven anyway.

I went out for half an hour until deciding that it was too light to risk going any longer, and on my way back in I got caught in a lull and dropped my kite. After a bit of swimming I made it back to my launch spot, and spent some time just hanging out with other kiters, shooting the shit and helping launch and land people. All the while we were watching a band of clouds and rain make their way up the Gorge, and we wondered what sort of wind they would bring with them.

And then we knew. Almost instantly the river turned into a surly, boiling cauldron of whitecaps. In the distance we could see the dust from the Hook being whipped from the ground, a devouring orange cloud that consumed our view. Gear went pin-wheeling when the wind finally hit the Sandbar, and everyone scrambled to protect their kites from the squall.

I piled all my stuff on my kite to keep it in place, and shoveled so much sand onto it I nearly buried it from view. The wind did the rest. Before long we were in a full-on sandstorm, and I had to pull my wetsuit back on to temper its rage against my flesh. So much sand was blowing that when you looked downwind across the Delta, all you could see was a solid grey cloud.

However, whatever we were experiencing on the Sandbar was nothing compared to what was happening out on the water. There were about ten or fifteen kiters out, and they were all fighting the wind and trying to limp back to the beach. We helped people with landing their kites as soon as they got in range, and while many seemed a bit brow-beaten it didn’t look like anyone had actually gotten injured out there.

Gear did not fair quite so well, and there were many tales of ripped kites and lost boards. One kite actually abandoned its owner, flying overhead along the far side of the sandbar with surprising beauty and danger.

The storm eventually subsided and it seemed that everyone had made it back to shore, so I excavated my kite, packed up my belongings and headed back to my car. Calm had returned to the Sandbar, but most of us were too gun-shy to get back on the water again. Sirens blaring in the distance suggested that there were other stories to this day.

June 24, 2007 Wind Graph for the Event Site

Fire Season

The Ham Lake Fire is now 100% contained on the American side. It’s still got some elbow room on the Canadian side, but it has mellowed out considerably over the last few days. Today it even snowed up at camp, and so we all breathe a collective sigh of relief as we realize it won’t be burning to the ground this time.

Now that Charter has kindly yanked me from the Dark Ages and fixed mine internets, I’ve finally gotten around to uploading our photos from our backpacking trip to Zion this past March.

As for Hood River, the early summer season is definitely upon us. Cars now stop where there aren’t any stop signs and keep driving where there are, pedestrians randomly dart out into traffic without any sense of self-preservation, all the real estate signs are going up again, and kiters and windsurfers are sparring with one another regarding the proper use of the Event Site.

The weather, too, has been beautiful for the most part. Sadly today it rained all day and was a chilly 50 degrees, which came as a surprise as we’ve been enjoying sunny, 80-degree days in the recent weeks.

Yup, today was kind of a wash out day for Canadian May Long Weekend, but hopefully Monday holds some promise for better weather and better wind. Another round of fisticuffs at The Spit, while unfortunate, would certainly liven things up a bit. Now that the kiters spent all day Saturday piling debris, burning logs and cleaning up The Boneyard, there’s plenty more room to host a tussle.

The Sound and the Fury

I just got back from doing a bit of night riding over at Mount Hood Meadows. Apparently this weekend they’re having a throw-down called Jamaican Days, which means they pipe reggae music through their outside speakers, host a bonfire out on the snow, and cook something at the chalet that smells vaguely Jamaican. It also means that the snowboarders burn something in the terrain park that smells vaguely Jamaican. How this makes it different from any other weekend is beyond me.

However. If snow conditions had any say in the matter, the festivities would be known as “If you hate your life and want to die, let’s go snowboarding! Days.”

As I was taking my first ride up the chair lift (I take Daisy Chair because I’m a sucker for its vintage charm) I heard a very odd sound, that was not unlike the sound of waves crashing on a beach. At first I thought it was the lift, and I braced for my imminent plunge to the earth, but when the sound didn’t change as I passed lift tower after lift tower, I began to wonder. Why, the sound even seemed to echo through the resort, and besides snowmobiles I know of no lift that creates such a din to actually echo.

No. The sound I heard was every single person at Mount Hood Meadows, simultaneously scraping the metal edges of their skis or snowboards across the ice, the bulletproof ice that covered the entire mountain in a cruel mockery of actual snow. Oh god, that sound. I swear, it was so loud you could probably hear it all the way down in Government Camp… hear it, that is, if you weren’t deaf already from getting punched in the ear in a brawl down at Charlie’s.

Anyway, in contrast to the abhorrent snow conditions to be had at the mountain this eve, we had a beautiful day here in Hood River. It started out as the typical crud, cloudy and somewhat chilly with a cold drizzle every now and then. Early in the day someone at the bagel shop said it was sunny in Cascade Locks, however, so that gave us hope. Hope and rage. See, Cascade Locks is located in a fucking rainforest, such that we firmly believe it should never be sunny there. When it is, we Hood River peoples take it as an affront to our very existence.

Fortunately, the sun was kind enough to migrate this far east, and we were treated to cloudless skies and 60 degrees for the entire afternoon. I was busy soloing the shop for a good part of the day, but I managed to get outside for a spell and unwind some kite lines. In the evening it was still crystal clear, and the stars were out while I was riding at Meadows.

Or perhaps that was because I slammed my head into the ice one time too many.

Bumper Cars (and Cannibalism)

This is just. Too. Awesome.

Portland rules!