Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Bend "Best Mountain Town" says Fortune Magazine

Fortune Magazine's "The Best Places to Retire Now," says that "Today's retirees are as likely to hit the north face as the back nine, and they're increasingly opting for mountain towns." And Bend was selected as the best out of four candidates with Burlington, VT., Fort Collins, Colo., and Sun Valley, Idaho in follow-up positions.

Notably absent from their description of Bend's attractions is the demonstrably-wrong claim of 300 days of sunshine.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fly Fishing for Trout? Must Have.

Something I've realized: in addition to "charming" as an attribute of any place I want to live, there must be fly fishing for trout. I learned to fly fish three lifetimes ago, but forgot how to do it because there is no trout in SoCal. Water is scarce and too damn warm for trout. So I gave it up. I left my waders, wicker creel, bamboo rod, &c., behind when I divorced the second Mrs Elliott. 

I will never ever again live in a place where trout cannot.

Today I took a Fly Fishing 101 class at Orivs. There were nine of us (two kids, two women, five men) + Jeremiah, the instructor. 

We started out in the store's conference room.  Jeremiah explained the rods, the line, the leader & the backing, and the basic cast.  

I learned a lot. One thing I learned is that what I knew 30 years ago is out of date: it used to be that putting ferrules in a rod screw up how it feels. This is apparently no longer true: according to the instructor, today's ferrule tech has been improved to the point where a four-section rod feels the same as a single-section rod. It might be an exaggeration, but it gives hope to the fellow who wants to break down a fly rod small enough to backpack. 

After the introductory information, he looked outside. It was starting to rain. He declared it "perfect," and directed us to pick up our student rigs and troop outside to a large grassy area nearer to the river, to face into the wind and rain, and to start casting.

My biggest problem is that I tend to cast from the wrist rather than from the arm. Jeremiah worked on that. Pretty soon I was toss the "fly" (bit of feather with a bit of Velcro on it) a respectable distance, even into the headwind.

After working with everyone, assisting us sort out our various bad habits, he then set out cardboard fish pasted withVelcro of other sex. When we "hooked" a "fish," he picked it up and taught us how to set the hook, how to use our trigger finger for drag, how to strip in line as the fish comes in, and then bring the fish in for hook removal.

Wearing my cheap but effective Sierra Designs coated nylon jacket, I wasn't bothered by the weather. No one else seemed troubled, either. 

After 45 minutes of hurling our "flies" at the "fish," we trooped back to the conference room to practice knots. He showed us your clinch & surgeon's knots, which I already know, so I fiddled with other knots relevant to fly & bubble fishing (a style more suitable for hiking-accessible high lakes fishing than trad fly fishing), and he concluded by describing more advanced courses and some beginner fly fishing kits that Orvis is offering, &c., &c. 

The point of a free introductory course being to create new customers, after all.

The one issue
(other than the cost of buying Yet More Gear) that I have about fly fishing is that fly fishing, unlike fly-and-bubble fishing, really depends on a strong casting shoulder, and my right (strong side) shoulder was pretty broken up a four lifetimes ago. There is some traumatic arthritis in the joint, and fly fishing casting tires it and makes it sore. 

My friend (Bend Treasure and Bend's unofficial goodwill ambassador H. Bruce Miller) and I are going fishing--with a guide--for rainbows in July on the Mackenzie and I don't want to get too tired 30 minutes into the trip. So I am using weights every other night to strengthen the shoulder. 

And there is a big cement pond across the road from Orvis with big floating rings in it, specifically set up for numbnuts like me who need to practice their casting. I will probably go out and do some of that, too.

OUT OF FISHING OPTIMISM, I have rigged my kayak up with a trolley anchor system, so I can park it in a stream and fish; and I have mounted two rod holders: one (1) for a spin casting rod, and one (1) for a fly rod. 

Someday I am going to catch a goddamn fish! A strong fish and clean fish. I will land that fish and I will take that fish to camp and I will clean it and cook it and feel very Hemmingwayish.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Who is this Ashton Eaton Lad?

Ashton Eaton, I am reading, is now a gold medal favorite at the 2012 Summer Olympics with a dominating victory at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials this weekend. He has set a Decathalon world record.

This guy was born in Portland in '88 and was moved to La Pine when he was two; and his mom and he moved to Bend when he was in the fifth grade (according to the Wikipedia).

He's tore it up in the Trials and looks to be heading to the Olympics.

Best we pay attention. He's not a native son of Bend, but close enough, yes?

Someone to root for!

Go Ashton!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Means Something To Me

I'm not a Christian. I'm not of any of the three Abrahamic religions because the old testament is a wad of codswallop: historically doubtful tales, desert prejudices, and bronze-age supersititions.

But sometimes a christianist gets it right. Today, Bend's First Presbyterian Church's blog entry had this to say:
Have you ever noticed when you have surgery or you are really sick or you are struggling in some way, how small your world can become and how easy it is to place yourself at the center of your small world? Your needs are what you are mostly concerned about. Your primary concern becomes how you are feeling and it is every one else’s job to make you feel better. 

"How did George Bernard Shaw describe it, 'being a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.' ”
Been there, done that. Not proud of it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Photogs: Your Chance to Immortalize Your Name

Some photos will be with us forever: Widener's shot of Tank Man in Tienanmen Square, Churchill, Stalin, and Roosevelt at Yalta; that Vietnamese girl on fire, Eisenstadt's snap of the the sailor smooching the (rather unwilling-looking) nurse in Times Square on V-J day; these and many more photographs capture the momentous; they are iconic and will be with humankind forever.

Would you like an opportunity to see your photo join that rarefied pantheon? Do you own a working camera? and know how to use it?

Here's your chance:

At the upcoming Freedom Ride here in Bend, on the 4th of July at or around 2:30pm-ish, starting at Pioneer Park, Jack will sally forth in his brand-new red, white, and blue Spandex body suit with matching Afro wig and facepaint and bravely ride forth on his bicycle with a bunch of other loony and cheerful Bendites.

Catch a picture of Jack and email it to me, and I will publish it.

You may win a spot alongside the giants of documentary photographers.
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