Sunday, August 21, 2011

What's for dinner?

Southeast Alaska white king, Bristol Bay Chinook, bean sprout pilaf and peanut slaw.
The Wife and I provided the fish; the red onion, scallions, cilantro and parsley came from the garden; and the cabbage and carrots came from local farms.  The beer (not pictured) came from California.  You can't call it all local, but it's getting close.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A new Fishing Partner

I've never been much of a planner.  Back when The Wife and I were just married, my inability to consider "the future" was a regular annoyance--and the source of nearly any squabble we ever had.  It was, and sometimes still is, inconceivable to her that I could be so utterly unconcerned with the details to come.  One illustration of this is in our approach to kids:

The Wife: "When do you want to start trying to have kids?"

Me: "I don't know.  Someday."

The Wife: "I think in a few years, once we finish school and have decent jobs, it'd be nice to start trying.  Don't you?"

My: "I don't know.  I always figured I'd just wake up someday ready to be a father."

Needless to say, my nonchalant attitude toward such life-altering events didn't always go over so well.  However, in my defense, it's not that I don't care about what might be, it's that I'd rather focus on the big picture and take the details as they come.  Kids?  Yes.  When?  Details, shmetails.

So, true to form, about nine months ago I woke up ready to be a dad and, because I have an incredibly understanding and patient wife, a week ago today The Wife gave birth to our loving son.
Mason, our new fishing partner.
While I could wax poetic about the miracle of birth and how amazing it is to be a father, which it most certainly is, I'm most excited about all the fun adventures and life experiences we have yet to see.

So, without a moment to spare, The Wife and I took advantage of yesterday's nice weather and took our little munchkin out for his first fishing trip.
The Wife and Mason.
Grandma Jan, aunt Ash and cousin Grace also came along for the ride.  With Mason only six days old and Grace celebrating her six-month birthday, we were quite the sight on the river.
Drift boat or nursery?
Karta usually sticks by whoever is catching the most . . .
My first rainbow on the new Winston BIIIx and Bauer MacKenzie CFX.
Bringing in a nice Dolly.
Grace, showing her excitement for the fish.
Black bears always seem small compared to their brown kin.
One thing about taking kiddos out in the boat is that you can't just pack up and head home if things aren't going too well.  Sure, you can push on down the river, but once you launch you're committed through to the pull-out.  However, the calm, rocking motion of the boat and lapping sounds of the river helped Mason snooze through most of the trip and Grace seemed happy to spend her day laughing at the funny looking guy on the oars.

This day wasn't as much about fishing as it was about being on the river with family.  Of course, that doesn't mean we didn't catch a few nice fish.
Grandma Jan, roped into a lunker on her first day fly fishing.
Mr. Mason too busy snoozing to be disturbed.
A nice Dolly and Karta with the assist.
A successful catch and release.
And here's to many more adventures with Mason!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Strike Three

I remember being especially impressed with Obama's inaugural address when he vowed to "restore science to its rightful place."  Hearing this was a breath of fresh air following an unprecedented eight years of manipulation, suppression and misrepresentation of science during the Bush era.

Unfortunately, I also recall Obama's vow falling by the wayside when his administration failed to make meaningful changes in its management of Columbia River Basin dams to ensure they did not jeopardize the continued existence of endangered and threatened Pacific salmon.
Lower Granite Dam
I take it as a given that our elected officials and high-level bureaucrats want cover when making difficult or controversial decisions.  Our leaders are paralyzed unless they feel protected by sufficient cover--whether in the form of an outspoken mass of voters, impending economic doom, or a judge forcing the issue.  As it turns out, our leaders too often would rather follow than take the lead. 

So, it was with great joy that I sat down this evening to read Judge Redden's opinion (PDF), issued yesterday, rebuking for the third time NOAA Fisheries' 2010 biological opinion for the Columbia River Basin salmon.  For those that don't have the time, the footnotes are where it's at:
FN2 - The history of the Federal Defendant's lack of, or at best, marginal compliance with the procedural and substantive requirements of the [Endangered Species Act] as to [Federal Columbia River Power System] operations has been laid out in prior Opinions and Orders in this case and is repeated here only where relevant.
Translation: Quit with this crap already; it's getting old.
FN3 - Because I find that the [biological opinion] impermissibly relies on mitigation measures that are not reasonably certain to occur, I need not address Plaintiffs' remaining arguments.  I continue to have serious concerns about the specific, numerical survival benefits NOAA Fisheries attributes to habitat mitigation.  Habitat improvement is a vital component of recovery and may lead to increased survival.  Nevertheless, the lack of scientific support for specific survival predictions is troubling.  Indeed, NOAA Fisheries acknowledges that the benefits associated with habitat improvement may not accrue for many years, if ever.  Although the court may be required to defer to NOAA Fisheries' technical and scientific "expertise" in predicting the benefits of habitat mitigation, the court is not required to defer to uncertain survival predictions that are based upon unidentified mitigation plans.
Translation: You're so full of shit I have to put quotes around "expertise."

So, hide behind Judge Redden if you must, Mr. Obama, but it's well past time to make the right decision.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Wild Rivers

Choosing the right beer for the occasion can be tricky.  But, fear not my friend, Sierra Nevada and Western Rivers Conservancy have teamed up to make your decision just a little bit easier.  For every 12-pack of Pale Ale or seasonal beer sold through September 10, Sierra Nevada is donating a portion of its proceeds to river conservation partners, including the Western Rivers Conservancy.  Sierra Nevada makes a damn fine beer and the Western Rivers Conservancy does damn fine work, so get to it and drink up.  Now, if only Anchorage would recycle glass . . .