Thursday, December 31, 2009

Another one in the Books

Random Thoughts and Impressions from 2009, minus about 31,893 words.

Tramp..This picture always makes us laugh.

This one always makes us cry.


We wouldn't trade it, but we don't really want it back, neither.

See you next year.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Christmahaunakwanzaakah, again.

The Yule Season crept up on us this year, only to leap out of the bushes a few days ago to shout "Surprise!" at our startled countenance.

Happy Holidays? In 2 days? Really? C'mon, man...thanksgiving was like, what...a week ago?

Sure enough, it is Christmahaunakwanzaakah again, and like most arbitrary days of celebration based on highly improbable acts (see also: Easter) and only recently co-opted and corrupted by commercial interests and the materialist mentality, we could care less.

Truth be told, we don't cotton much to the gift gettin' n givin' process- if we need it, we go get it, and if we just "want" it, odds are that it is a pretty specific (or obscure) item. Shopping for others is another layer of stress altogether, but we bottled up our inner grinch long enough to get some nice presents for the Wife, if only so she sticks around for another year.

The one good thing about the holiday season is the gatherings, and if some folks need it as an excuse to loosen up a little, neck back some 'nog, and give the old lady a christmas goose, then we're okay with that.

As it turns out, we don't need too many excuses to celebrate life, family, and friends.

If you just have to free your inner elf, send all your offerings and tidings of joy to 58°19'59"N 134°29'49"W ...Ho ho ho, dammit.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Take II

More from the C:/user/photos/fall file.

December is the annual and traditional "mental vacation" month here at the Neil Creek Estate. Not much goes on in the darkest month, and not much is asked of us, so we generally just shuffle around the mansion in our underwear, clutching a cup of coffee and absently rubbing our stubble-covered the way, that last word? It doesn't mean what you think it means.

We're sure there are folks that view us as a lazy, shiftless, no-good-for-nothin' because we get up at the crack of 9:30, lounge around all day on various couches, then drink beer all evening as if we have accomplished something worthwhile.

Our reply to those folks is, "Well, someone has to do it."

So far, the vacation has been going swimmingly. We come out of it every now an then to read emails, make ramen, and bathe, but other than that, we're pretty content with the way things have been progressing.

2010 is shaping up to be a busy one. With dates in DEN, SFO, SEA, PDX, OAK, LGB, and KOA, the Neil Creek RoadShow has a full dance card for the rest of the winter. Appropriate plans will be made withe the appropriate folks for rendez-vous during the peregrinations, but right now we're too busy relaxing to think about all of that.

Only 25 more days of, anyone?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Scenes from Fall, take I

With the onset of winter, a fella can't help but reminisce a little about the past year. The freshets and fish of fall have been replaced by the snow and grumbling of "the longest season", the endless pub crawl, the days of 361 channels and nothing to watch. When you can't possibly tie another fly, or fiddle with gear any more, and the next trip is months away, sometimes solace can be found in the land of C:/user/photos.

Some randomness from Fall, salve for the wound, balm for the soul.

T minus 762:37:19 'til RoadTrip '10 v1.0, kids.

Can't wait.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Settling in, kinda

Back from the outside.

Things are pretty much as we left them, minus the greenhouse which ended up in the neighbor's driveway during a big blow...and the cover for the Neil Creek Yacht, which crapped out during the same storm.

And the heater, an old Monitor 422 that finally gave up the ghost.

Did we mention the cover for the upper deck at the Estate yet? No? Well, it is in need of finishing too.


Oh well, these things happen. We're about 4.6 inches away from getting the new heater in, and as soon as we figure out how to get 2 right-angle bends (with flares) in a 9" chunk of 3/8" copper tubing AND get it wedged into a 5"x2"x3" space, things will be better...not to mention warmer.

The trip to the Outside went well, all things considered. The traffic on I-35 - actually, damn near ALL of the Austin / Dallas corridor - still sucks, and it still rains all winter in Seattle, but at least the company was OK. The nice older couple that we used to live with is doing well, and the other relatives seem to be holding their own.

Sunshine is an underrated thing, and after eating and drinking in a lot of it this trip, we can see what all the fuss is about.

The Wife and the Chick, bonding over Tex-Mex.

We pretty much ditched the camera for the rest of the trip, which is a shame because otherwise we could have let you in on a wide panoply of scenes, like Wally in a fit of beer-fueled brownline bliss, Rathbun and spouse grooving on home-surgery videos, and B² totin' his beloved J-smolt around Clark and Anil's place. As it stands, we're sorta sure you might not have wanted to see at least 2 of these 3 things.

For now, we're settling in to minor repairs at the Palace and playing with the new addition to the family, which we will get to in due time. Whether we like it or not, winter is here, and we're not quite ready for it yet.

Friday, November 6, 2009

File Under: Can't Wait

The vacation is going swimmingly, thanks.

Yes, the weather is hot, the beer is still cold, and the Mex and 'cue are still pretty bitchin'.

We did, however, receive an email from Señor Rathbun over at the Chum, the contents of which we consider too pressing to wait until we are safely ensconced back in front of our own Babbage engine.

Since WA has been on the greatest hits list these last few years, not to mention the fact that we go back on a bi-yearly basis to visit that nice older couple we used to live with, this one is a little close to the vitals for us. If you fish for steelhead in WA, please take the time to answer these three multiple-choice questions...wild WA steelhead need a show of love here, even from you "brownline" weirdos that only dabble in the sickness.

Resuming radio silence...see you in 14 days, kids.

Monday, November 2, 2009

On The Road, Again.

RoadTrip '09 v4 has snuck up and ambushed us. A mere 8 days after returning from RT'09 v3, we are once again packing a bag and preparing to be harassed by surly airline flunkies on our way Outside. The chance of fishing on this trip is about 8-13%, but we will be able to visit with a few choice folks from the fish-crazy camp on our peregrinations - we will once again be eatin' Mex with FlyFishChick on her home turf, downing beers with Wally at his favorite seedy dive, and trying to keep Ratbone from stealing cheesy posters glued above urinals in trashy neo-retro hipster hangouts.

While we dislike complaining about the weather, we couldn't have picked a better time to go outside. Quick comparisons for the betting folks...




Tuesday: Sunny, with a high near 76. Calm wind becoming
northeast between 5 and 10 mph.

Smart money has us in shorts and tevas by Wednesday afternoon, a cold Carta Blanca in one hand and a fistful of good 'cue in the other.

See you in 16 days, kids.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Slight Return

RoadTrip '09 v3 has come to a close, and it's about damn time - we only have 6 days left to prep for RoadTrip '09 v4.

At any rate, here are some quick numbers on v3 for the factoid crowd...don't laugh, you know who you are.

1830 air miles.
1722 road miles.
13 days.
3 states.
4 flows.
9337 calories consumed, resulting in
14 lbs lost.
41 ft. of running line lost.
226 ft. of tippet material used.
82 flies lost,
58 of those on fish.
142 mule deer encountered on road,
3 nearly "rentalized".
13277433 mice,
4 of which WERE rentalized.
2 pairs of blown-out waders.
61 fish raised to dry flies, of which
9 were landed.
89 bighorn fishing partners.
92465 cockleburrs stuck to our fleece.
3 days that it blew 30+mph.
1 broken rod.
4 "near-wet" experiences.
1 swimming trip.
145 hours of zen-like calm, coupled with
116 hours of blissful idiotic grinning.

The numbers we can only estimate?

2, maybe 3 cubic yards of fish landed.
Many, many grabs...on top, on tips, on drylines...
Many, many dance partners.
Tons of smiling.
Miles of casts.
Acres and acres of water covered.

Images from the field-

One of the big rivers.

Looking down the end of the canyon.

One river had piles of these guys.

Fuzzy dance partners.

Last light in the canyon.

Flies of Distinction-

This started life as a hackled leech, but the fish wouldn't leave it well enough alone...funny thing, though - the more chewed-up it got, the better it worked.

The Dark Prince, a sz12 morsel to be flung out and trusted.

The Swingin' Prince. You will now be shot, for you have seen too much.

Semi-traditional, and chewed on.

Yes, that is a foam skater, and yes, those ARE teeth-marks.

As for pics of the anadromously inclined dance partners, well...we didn't take but 3 or 4, and only of one buff lady we had a thing with for a few minutes. She was nice enough to stick around for a bit and discreet enough to stay out of the way, so we reeled up and watched her for awhile, just to make sure she was gonna get home alright.

In the end, she went her way and we went ours, and we like to think that we were both somehow better for the experience.

Many dance partners, many casts, many steps, many rocks, many rivers, many runs - as with all trips, the moment you leave the flow, it starts to run together in your mind. Features blur and spaces condense until there is nothing left but the dancers, 2 partners in recombinant iterations to represent the time passed. Many forms of quantification pale and become invalid in this light but there is one that remains-

347 days, 17 hours, and 34 minutes until we get to do it again.