Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Bellinghamsters demonstrating the unofficial motto of their city


Here in Bellingham, Washington I've spent the past five days visiting and trying to get to the bottom of what are some examples of "subdued excitement" ~ where is the evidence of this exactly? One can read various accounts of the origin of this cities informal motto and all kinds of results come up. Then of course there is this descriptive and entertaining song uploaded about six years ago.

There is nothing quite like interviewing the inhabitants directly. The following results are a brief sampling of stories I found that are pretty decent proof that the motto fits. 
  • Hammocking is an activity very popular in "B-ham". Genny, age 16, described how most people her age really enjoy doing this in the warmer months. Either in solo hammocks in a group or a group of two in one hammock and it involves taking in nature views and relaxing. Perhaps this activity wasn't invented in this town but B-hamsters really love doing it.

  • Claw machine excellence is a story I heard from Mr. Zazoo Pitts. Apparently Zazoo had a burning urge to figure out the secrets to how to beat the stuffed animal claw machine. There was one machine in particular in the downtown Ranch Room located inside the Horseshoe Cafe. Zazoo had it pegged and he managed to collect some 90 stuffed animals in the period of two years, spending about $300. He has now gone through claw-machines-anonymous in order to keep away from future claw machines. That is some serious subdued excitement.

  • Music engagement is another example of subdued excitement. No matter what the music, one hand holds the beer while the other goes into the front jean pocket and the head bobs in time to the music just slightly but not enough to spill the local microbrew.  I heard this summary from several people who have seen this firsthand. No dancing here.

  • Booze and books is the last observation. Because the latitude of Bellingham is so far north above the 48th parallel, the winter has quite a few dark hours each day. Therefore many Bellinghamsters admitted to enjoying books and beverages (not always together). But someone mentioned this fantastic soup: Whiskey Crab Soup to soothe the soul. That would take my worries away for awhile.
Finally, a postscript that when walking through Fairhaven ~ don't forget to look down for some history. This little gem presented itself and I had to look up the details as it confused me. This really happened, click here to read more. 








Thursday, September 29, 2016

Facing the unknown ~ inspiring people

At the Dolphin Club in San Francisco, many people that are both members and guests there never fail to impress me. Swimming and rowing at the club is not only "good clean fun" as my sister Rae would say but also good for the mind and soul.

It is with open mouthed amazement that I listened to Lynne Cox last night talk about her newest book "Swimming in the Sink" to a crowded room like-minded souls who swim in very cold water too. The peaceful sense of heart-based love was definitely in the room as Lynne related the human connection and spirit/community as the key to the mental toughness to carry hope for humanity which is what spurred her on during many of her legendary swims. Her talk brought tears to my eyes (leaky eyes). Then I smiled to see another luminous person in the book signing line, our very own Dolphin Club Kim Chambers who has set a few open water swimming records herself and I asked them to stand for this photo.



Monday, May 23, 2016

A watery parade all the day long

Kelley and I rowed a beautiful wooden boat from The Dolphin Club yesterday from 8am until almost 3pm to be part of a swim and a boat parade.  The Bay Parade is an annual celebration of Baykeeper's successes in making San Francisco Bay safe and enjoyable to recreate in. More than 100 swimmers, kayakers, stand up paddleboarders, and boaters gathered on Sunday, May 22 for a fun and active day on San Francisco Bay.

Third Annual Baykeeper Bay Parade 2016 from Anna MacKinnon on Vimeo.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Lipstick with dirt and some insects mixed in

This past month I've put a lot of hours into motorcycle travel and filming. I have learned a lot so far. From the very basic stuff like always carry a cleaning cloth to clean the camera lens to audio challenges (that I already knew but didn't think about). Then the final piece about taking into consideration the exhaustion from travel mixed with trying to film during the whole thing is unique. The Lipstick and Dirt project is about four women traveling the globe on motorcycles. They are on a quest to meet up and interview other women they've heard about who ride. Along the way though, the series documents how these women relate to people they meet, to one another, to the travel itself as they put the miles behind them. Sometimes they ride together and sometimes on their own but it never fails to be interesting.

The fourth episode is in the edit room as this is being written but here's episode three ...


Lipstick and Dirt episode 3 border from Anna MacKinnon on Vimeo.

Monday, March 21, 2016

When the feet decide that enough is enough

I've been this person before, the one who steps out of a pair of shoes due to discomfort and keeps walking. I did this once on Madison Avenue in New York City in my early 20's and I've never forgotten it.

Thus I can't help but smile when I discover a discarded pair of high-heeled shoes on the sidewalk. This pair seen yesterday on Sacramento Street. I subsequently wonder about the following:
  • what was she (or he for that matter) wearing that matched the purple shoe?
  • what event was she attending before this moment and how many hours were her feet subjected to these shoes?
  • did she walk home barefoot?
  • was she possibly overserved?
  • how tall was this person without the shoes?
  • what was the precipitating event that led to ditching this pair of shoes?
Last but not least... did this person spontaneously combust and all we have left as evidence are the shoes? It might have happened.


Saturday, March 12, 2016

Sayula II Whitbread race made into a film ~ worth seeing ~ claro que si

Last night I attended the third program for the SF International Ocean Film Festival and one of the movies was The Weekend Sailor.  Everyone loves an underdog and this story delivers with focus on the adventure that unfolded during the 1973-74 Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race, a real feel good tale. The film's director Bernardo Arsuaga received the director's award for the festival, well deserved. See it if you can.




Thursday, February 11, 2016

stuff you do when you're twelve

In 1976 I was proud of myself for memorizing my #Morse code letters. One evening I went to the side patio door and spelled out “S.O.S.” in Morse code using the porch light. I did this for about five minutes sending repeated #SOS signals ~ I should have known that because I was in a Navy town (#Coronado), this would be taken rather seriously. In another five minutes the police arrived at our front door asking what the matter was. My brother and sister remember this like yesterday and reminded me it was my friend Scott Honor's father that called it in! #oops #tbt  #funny 






Wednesday, February 10, 2016

the passive space and active time from which all life originates

When traveling in Nepal in 1999, I noticed shrines all over that country for Hindu worship. Specifically with a nod to Shiva and the lingam ...

Here's a photo of a shrine I made today, and a monumental salute of veneration.

Shrine contents as follows:

crown for the king ~ the male
woman playing ukelele top left of frame ~ the female
gold frame ~ art and creative worship
flowers ~ ephemeral nature of beauty
shells ~ water and fluidity 
skeleton ~ renewal through death and shedding what no longer works
pine cone ~ adhesion via resinous sap, the element of holding together
incense ~ just above the woman is a stick of incense burning to infuse the power of the intention into the universe





Thursday, January 28, 2016

And away it goes

Random thought diary: earlier this week I was lying captive in the dentist chair having the bi-annual teeth cleaning procedure. That machine that sucks out your saliva is magical. It reminded me of a vacuum cleaner. Then I started to think how nice if there was a machine to "take it all away" anytime a mess happened. A virtual machine to suck away the ills of life. My favorite word in Spanish is aspiradora and in the mid-1980's I witnessed my mother trying to explain to the Spanish speaking house cleaner that the vacuum cleaner was broken. "No pick-up" she said as she did her best to pantomime the action of not being able to suck dirt. My mom's Spanish vocabulary was limited to say the least. Aspirate that crap out of here.



The importance of being curious

“Curiosity is the main energy...” 
― Robert Rauschenberg