Thursday, 24 August 2006

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is found in northeastern Minnesota, along the border with Canada. They call Minnesota the Land of 10,000 lakes, and the many lakes that make up the BWCA are just some of those thousands. It's a beautiful place, and as far as I am concerned everyone should go at some point in time in their lives. Just let me know when you're going and make sure you all schedule it on the same day. I'll plan my trip at another time, so I can enjoy the peace and quiet. Heh.

Actually, the number of people are parties that can enter the wilderness area on any given day and from any given entry point is pretty heavily limited. The regulations are intended to protect the area and make sure it's maintained as a relatively pristine wilderness area, which is a good idea. Some of the regs seem a bit extreme, but whatever. On the Canadian side of the lakes, it's a lot more expensive and even more restrictive in terms of the regs.

Anyhow, my good friend Cory and I spent a lot of time all week in canoes and fishing. I was feeling (and smelling) pretty strong by the second half of the week. A large part of the time it was just the two of us in the canoe, and other times we were in the boat along with Cory's dad. It just depended on the day and who was in camp at the time. One evening Cory, his sister and I went out for the evening after eagles in a canoe. We earned our eagle chaser badges that night.

Cory paddling on Disappointment Lake

Evening light on the water

I caught this northern pike on our first day out

Sunset from camp

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Thursday, 24 August 2006 22:53:32 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Tuesday, 22 August 2006

One of the highlights of our canoe trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota was a family of bald eagles that frequented the area around our camp for a couple of days. Being a former sports photographer (a long story for another time), I still have a couple lenses that I use on a D70 digital body, and I was glad I brought them with me on the trip.

I have always been quite impressed with an amazed by bald eagles. Getting a chance to be so close in the wild (they came as close as about 40 feet to where I stood) was a lot of fun. I wonder if you can get paid to watch and photograph eagles for a living. I bet some people do.

For the photo geeks, these images are with a Nikkor 180/f2.8 lens on the Nikon D70 body. These particular images are not public domain. Click each one to view a slightly larger size. A number of people are emailing asking for copies, which is fine, just let me know.

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Tuesday, 22 August 2006 20:42:22 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Edit: Okay, so some people freaked out a bit when they read this, so let me just say that this was a great trip that allowed me to look at my life and priorities in a new way. Work was taking up way too much time and I realized how much I was not enjoying life. That's about it. It was a great experience that let me evaluate where I'm at in life and why. So please don't freak out, I'm not going nuts or anything. Sheez. Heh.

Canoes in the sunlight from the campsite I'm starting this post while on an airplane, once again. I'll finish it after I get back to Oregon. Heading home - as they say - from a place I've never been before. The last week was spent with one of my best friends in the wilderness and experiencing several of the most important things life has to offer: Nature, friends, and some stark realities of life.

As I travel home to my house and my job, I recognize I am leaving something incredibly important behind. My life has was fundamentally changed in the last week. I can feel it in my bones. It's subtle, but it's there. And I am not just saying those words, I mean it.

Here and in the next few posts are images I shot while on vacation with my friend Cory in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness of northern Minnesota for seven days last week. It's one of the most amazing places I have been to. We went with Cory's dad, Andy, who has been a guide there for many, many years. It was the experience of a lifetime. We fished, we threw hatchets, we ate well, we jumped off big rocks into cold, deep water, and we talked about lots of things. We saw nature and wilderness in the Land of ten thousand lakes. I know this is supposed to be a technical weblog, but for a short time I plan to document some of the things I saw and experienced.

John Denver put it this way (and yes, I know I am showing my age here). For the first time I think maybe I really understand what he meant...

He was born in the summer of his 27th year
Comin' home to a place he'd never been before
He left yesterday behind him, you might say he was born again
You might say he found a key for every door

I'm not 27 years old anymore, that's for sure, but the idea is still the same. Sometimes we see and experience things that so effectively disrupt our ritual lives and the ruts we fall into that the best word to describe the experience is epiphany. We realize suddenly that everything in our little worlds is not quite what we thought, and that it's time to do some serious searching of the soul. In a nutshell, that's what the week was like for me.

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Tuesday, 22 August 2006 20:21:39 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Just downloaded Windows Live Writer, a blog publishing tool that was released in Beta by Microsoft while I was on vacation. Omar was using it (without being able to say exactly what he was using) and said to keep an eye out, someone was releasing a sweet blog authoring tool, and this is it. I am writing this post after a very fast and automagical installation of the Live Writer software.

Windows Live Writer Screenshot

Wow, that was cool, pasting that image in the window... Finally, a blog authoring package that lets me copy an image to the clipboard without saving it and then lets me CTRL-V to paste it into the editing window, without having to save the image on the clipboard as a file - and drop-shadows to boot!

And, if all works well, I will be able to post this to my dasBlog weblog without using FTP for the images, using the metaweblog API enhancements in dasBlog.

There's lots of great little features. Check it out and try it out.

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Tuesday, 22 August 2006 19:16:25 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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It's pretty much a classic Murphyism that returning home from a terrific vacation took me through five airports instead of two, and that it would result in arriving a day later than I was supposed to. But despite all that, the vacation I just completed was the best week I have had in a long time, and it taught me a lot about many things.

Several things to post about out of the week and a half in Minnesota, coming shortly. Pictures and thoughts, for the most part.

Suffice it to say, I found I wanted to stay there - And for a few moments, I seriously thought I would do just that. Let the soul searching commence. More soon.

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Tuesday, 22 August 2006 16:40:26 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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You know you're HR staff is top-notch when they solve personnel behavior problems in creative ways that actually have impact. For example, what if this email appeared in your inbox?

"If you enjoyed the pizza you forgot you didn't bring in that was in a box in the first floor refrigerator and you want to thank the co-worker who actually did buy it, please contact me for the person's name."

Nice. Of course the offender didn't reveal themselves, but I think this helped solve the real problem, and people definitely took notice.

What creative HRisms have you seen over the years?

(P.S. - Stealing is wrong. Please don't steal. It's bad.)

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Tuesday, 22 August 2006 16:31:38 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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