Monday, January 27, 2020

I forced a bot... read over two thousand rejection letters. Here’s what it came up with. 

 It is 3 A.M. The over-caffeinated writer stumbles to their writing machine. The writing machine is made of rough drafts, e-mail, cat photos, and tears. Sometimes the over-caffeinated writer is over-alcoholed. The writer deletes all the writing club advertisements, editing party invitations, and stares hard up at an e-mail from an editorial. The writer knows the e-mail is from an editorial because the preview begins "Dear Contributor." 

The writer--who is half a writer, half a submitter, and half a life--sees no words like "congratulations," "contract," or "Hugo" in the message preview. They feel The Void stirring in their heart area. They resist the urge to look at library- and writers’-desks-porn. They open the message, because Real Writers stack up reflections.

 The editorial’s bot has written: "Your story didn’t quite grip us in the gripping places, so we’re going to Hail Mary on it. We used to collapse quantum states for no sales, but now we suggest you prophesy yourself. In another timeline, this story’s prophecy will be fulfilled."

The writer spends the next two hours conducting reject-o-mancy with the entrails of the story's manuscript and chocolate wrappers. This is part of the reflection.

 "I see!" the writer says. They fire up their creation music and re-assemble the manuscript, adding parts from The Five Points, Joseph Campbell, Thou Shalts, and Facebook Likes.

 "Ha! They said it couldn't be done! But I'll show them. I'll show them all!"

 The manuscripts in the writer's trunk murmur, but are ignored or forgotten or unpublished.

 The writer--who is half-awake, half-zombie--presses the SEND button. "Live! Live!" they shout before passing out.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

More Raptor Center

Saturday, there was a break in the weather, resulting in actual bright sunlight.   So, I took an impromptu trip to the Cascades Raptor Center.  Mostly, I wanted to get a photograph of Bango's breast feathers, because the sketches I'd made the week previously didn't seem to match up with some of the other earlier photos I'd taken.

I took some photos and practiced using extreme zoom, small aperture, and manual focus to blur out the bars as best as I could.   The best example of this was the picture of Ra, the Burrowing Owl.  During past visits, Ra has been hiding in its "burrow," but this time it was on a shelf.

I'm not sure if it's the tripod, or my camera, or if I look like some kind of Real Photographer, but I had more conversations about photography with other patrons than I've had previously.  I didn't mind chatting, and I think I made about six new friends this visit.

The best photos of birds were the ones that I managed to take when the trainers brought them out.   This time I managed to be there when Pip the Peregrine Falcon and (later) Ravi the Wester Screech Owl came out (alas, I just missed Dmitri the Eurasian Eagle-Owl).  Although it's not the world's most stunning picture, I did get an interesting photo of Deva, the Northern Harrier, as he held his wings out (I think he was excited because he thought he was going to get fed).

Pip was eating "a lucky rabbit's foot" on the wrist of one of the trainers.  I managed to get a few photos of him that had great resolution on his wings, but were blurry around his head.  I had turned the ISO up to 400, and I didn't want to go higher and risk false positive pixels.  This one is the best overall photo.

Next to Pip's enclosure is one for Eowyn, the Ferruginous Hawk.  Another patron wondered what kind of name Eowyn was, and then next thing I knew, I was saying, "Eowyn was a shield-maiden of  the Rohirrim."  I almost added, "Who won renown when she slew the Witch-King of Angmar."  I'm not sure if it was a good thing or a bad thing that that I wasn't wearing my grey-green wool cloak with a leaf clasp.

I learned that Pip doesn't slobber as much as Dante does.  I also found out that Lethe the Vulture wasn't greeting folks with his outspread wings, he was sunning himself in order to drive any parasites in his plumage out of his feathers, where they could be preened and eaten.  Apparently, between their dark color and insulative properties, the feathers can get hot (?110 F?), which the parasites that might be on the dead things the vultures are eating don't like.

Later, on the other side of the Center,  Ravi was eating chopped up mice.  A new trainer was learning how to handle Ravi, and it was interesting to listen to how the leather thongs are threaded through the jesses on Ravi's feet.  There were also techniques for holding one's fist away from or close to one's body to block the raptor's view of the food pouch on one's opposite hip so that the raptor doesn't see it.  Alas, the majority of photos I took were focused on a spot about eight inches beyond where she actually was.

A different trainer was feeding Celilo, a bald eagle, inside Celilo's mew.  It was kind of scary watching her gulp down a strip of rabbit flesh (?and bones?) about as long as my hand.  Without chewing (no teeth); just a flip of the head back, and down her wide-open beak the meat slid.  Celilo really wanted the trainer's hand, the one that was giving out rabbit's legs.  I suppose if she'd really wanted to, she would have gone for the bag of haunches on the trainer's hip.  Afterward, Celilo hopped into her eagle-sized bird bath and cleaned off her beak.

More clouds and overcast rolled in as the day progressed, which translated into photographs featuring the bars of the mews -- better photos work out when I can find the raptors in sunlight and their enclosure's meshes shaded.  I was getting hungry, so it was time to leave.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Friday Update

On the Gym Front:  I've been fairly virtuous about going to the gym.  Went Monday and did the Old, Push-Pull Routine; went Wednesday and did the New Aerobic Routine, plus some lat pull-downs.   The previous week, I'd met with my Trainer (1/13), and did some of the Old Routine, did the New Routine Wednesday (1/15), and the Old Routine Friday...    I've made some attempts to slip a forth day in, and I find that either I feel more tired than motivated, or that I'm more motivated to write.  ...And... I've taken this Friday off from the gym because I've been feeling kind of sore in the joints.

On the Writing Front:  In a burst of marketing, I submitted a bunch of stories and got my in the mail count up to ... five.   I also looked at my writing credits and worried that it was looking a little stale, but on the other hand it's better than nothing.

On the Weather Front:  It's been typical January/February rain, showers, and rain here.  I don't mind the rain, although I do wish more sunlight would break through the clouds.  Unfortunately, the clouds hid a morning conjunction of the Moon, Mars, and Antares.   I'm keeping my fingers crossed that next February's conjunction of the Moon and Mars, wherein the Moon will slip in front of Mars, isn't covered up.

On the Raptor Front:  Mark and I went to the Raptor Center last weekend to sketch birds.  Mark is much better at sketching birds than I am.  I typically get the head too large and the beak too small.  He produced a good likeness of Archimedes, the Snowy Owl.  Archimedes is hard to draw because he's 98% white, so you have to use really fine, light lines to capture the fishnet shape of his breast feathers.  His eyes can be a challenge, too, especially if he's resting them.

I'd say what I noticed this time that I hadn't really registered before was how long Bald Eagle toenails are.  Because, whoa!

I really got into the breast feathers of one of the hawks, Banjo, because the feather pattern is geometrically complex, and now I want to make a wide scarf with the same pattern.   What was fun was visually breaking the birds down into simple polygons; crescent for the feet, squares for legs, teardrops for the body, a half-circle for the head, and another crescent beak.

Monday, January 20, 2020

More Wiggling Polygons

Lately, I've been wiggling shapes together to try to make interesting tessellations.

I have to say every time I make a foray into this sort of design, I have to stop an appreciate 500 year old tile artists who managed to work out these patterns without computer assisted drawing (although, they do fudge shapes away from strict geometric polygons).

What typically happens is that I start in on a design that clicks into place on a local level but once I start to extend the repeats out -- or try rotating the whole pattern 120 degrees instead of 90 -- there's a fractional repeat that starts adding additional recursive shapes.

Theoretically, one could get around the difficulties of using both squares and triangles by designing a pattern with twelve-fold symmetry).

Looking at books on design, it seems the best strategy is to arrange squares and triangles and stars along radial guidelines and then wait for patterns to snap (mostly) into place.

Five-fold symmetry, as I've noted before, is very hard to tessalate unless one folds the two-dimensions of the workspace into three dimensions.  My intuition tells me that folding a pattern of ten stars into a regularly repeating pattern is somehow part of the same property of our universe that means you have to fold sound somehow if you want to make seven octaves and twelve fifths a unison.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Poem: Lamas Boys

Lammas Boys

The days are growing hot and the Lammas Boys are out. 
The wind in the fields makes the wheat curtsey, 
makes the wheat bow --
the tassels waving like a Morris dancer's scarf.

The Lammas Boys are with their shearing hooks among the rows.
Grain falls and the ground is shorn,
Dusty wheat and barley fields like a three-day beard.
Close-cropped hair is an asset when it's hot.

In ones and threes, the Lammas Boys are back.
Dust on their boots.  Dust in their cuffs.
Dust in the creases of the not-yet folds of age 
along their brows and the corners of their eyes. 

First fruits, first grains.  The Lammas Boys are out.
Gathering 'round the table, gathering 'round the fire.
Eyes blue like the sky with a burning sun.
Eyes green like the memory of spring.
Eyes brown like a furrow. 

The last sheaves will be harvested tomorrow.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Gym and Dancing

Saturday, I held a birthday dance party for myself.  The difficulty with having a Christmas Birthday is that it's difficult to gather folks together during the holidays unless they are Confirmed Bunburyists and can get out of various family gatherings.  We had a lot of fun and danced to happy, upbeat music (not "rhythmic noise" nor "stoner rap"), mostly from the 1980's and 1990's. 

On the Gym Front:  Monday, met with my trainer to go over standing deadlifts.  Notes For Myself:
  • Stand with feet beneath shoulders.
  • Let arms hang straight down; don't bring arms (and the force of the barbell) forward.
  • Keep thumbs/barbell bar next to legs.
  • The weight of the barbell should go straight up the arms and be centered beneath the armpits.
  • Keep weight on the heels (not on the toes, and therefor through the knees).
  • Hinge at the hips.
  • When you can't hinge the hips any more because your hamstrings will pop out of your legs, bend your knees as if you were going to sit (like a box squat).
  • Bent knees should not go in front of toes; keep them back.  
  • Face the mirror and focus on your forehead (not the chin) to keep the back straight.  
  • At the lowest point, torso should be at a forty-five angle.

If I can keep all of this in mind, I should be able to do deadlifts without pulling my lower vertebra out.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Gym Mysticism

Gym Report:  Went Wednesday (1/8) and did the old "Push-Pull" routine.  Went Friday (1/10) and did the new Aerobic Routine.  I was planning on going Thursday, but I felt a little tired and run down, so I stayed home and did domestic chores instead.  I'm planning to have a full night of dancing Saturday night, so that will be my workout for the weekend.

This has been a busy week as it is the first week of classes and everyone's back.

Lately, I've been skimming through old books on English 20th Century mysticism and the Tree of Life.  The thing that strikes me most about the magical systems therein is how prominent the body/spirit and body/mind (and male/female) splits are.  "As Above, So Below," is all very well and good, but it sets the stage for all the dichotomies to be ordered on the "higher/lower" scale.   My own thought about it is that it would be interesting to try a system that isn't so linear (from lower to higher) and have instead a dynamic cyclical one.

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Gym Cats

Mark and I went to see Cats Sunday night.  Neither of us was quite sure what all of the negative reviews were about.  It's "Cats," the 1980's dance review, only with CGI.  The players are supposed to be in fuzzy unitards and dance like felines.  It's a dance review, like "The Nutcracker," so it's more about show-casing dance (and song) numbers than it is about any coherent plot.  And the movie did a better job providing a coherent plot than any of the stage performances I've seen.

Mark thought maybe it was too surreal for a lot of folks.  I guess I just took the visual craziness in stride and appreciated the visual richness.   

The movie did fall back on some slap-stick, which seemed unnecessary, but may have been a bid to make it more accessible.  Dame Judy Dench as Deuteronomy and Sir Ian McKellen as Gus the Theatre Cat actually acted in their roles, and we enjoyed their performances.  I think the only choice I would have made differently would have been to make Grizabella more sorrowful than weepy -- although I did like the choice to make her angry and frustrated instead of the usual needy listlessness.  

The most annoying thing about the movie was the other audience members (about eight) who had come to the movie as some kind of joke and whispered and tittered to themselves the entire time.

Went to the gym last Friday (1/3) and did the original routine.  This meant that I managed to visit four times last week.  I'm feeling like maybe I could go to the gym four times a week, up from three... this might be easier during the holidays when I don't have to play Dad Taxi.   It also might be over-doing it.  

Went to the gym Monday (1/6) and did the Aerobic routine.  I still need to tweak the opening songs in my gym mix so they aren't too fast or too slow.  Also, my right earbud keeps falling out of my ear... I'm not sure what's up with that, but it means that I have to stop periodically to reseat it.  

I'm not sure if it's the music, or if my stamina is improving, but I felt less wiped out ad the end of Monday.  I really need to work on my dead-lifts, because I have very little flexibility in my hamstrings, which means I'm likely flexing my back instead of hinging at the hips when I'm doing them.  

Now, of course, I'm imagining gym cats.  I think one would be a Maine Coon Cat named Titania who naps among the fish-oil supplements, greets gym goers at the front desk, and oversees the treadmills and elliptical machines.  Not to be confused with Rumbasleeks, the leaping aerobics instructor cat, who is much leaner and has shorter fur.   Maybe they have an on-again-off-again romance, the telling of which uses anagrams of "gymnasium"....  

Monday, January 06, 2020

Mostly Owls

Saturday (1/4/2020), I went to the Raptor Center again.  The sun shone more brightly than it had the other week, and I hoped that I'd get better shots of the raptors in their mews.  I managed to get to the center fairly early and wandered around the grounds.  During previous visits, I somehow missed the barred owl and the mews next to the staff-only building, and it was cool to make new discoveries.

I managed to use as wide a aperture setting as possible so as to force a narrow field of depth, and I think the camera may have adjusted the aperture depending on the zoom of the lens -- so some of the shots may have not been with as wide an apertures as possible.  I got some relatively grille-free photos, but a number of them have the lines of the grille in front of birds prominent.  Alas, this time around I wasn't at the center when some of the birds were taken out for impromptu displays.

The best shots of the birds were when they were away from the mesh of their enclosures, or if I managed to get a good close-up of them.  My favorite shots are of Lethe the Turkey Vulture, because I never realized he had eye lashes.  I'm thinking the photos of him might make good story prompts.  I don't know if Lethe was sunning his wings or if he was displaying himself as part of some kind of greeting ritual.

 The owls tend to roost in the backs of their mews, so the best photographs this time around are of them. 

Once the weather gets a little warmer, it would be interesting to try to sketch the birds.  Photographs are nice, but sometimes I would catch myself interacting with the camera more than I would actually gazing at the birds.

I was glad that I'd gone Saturday, because Sunday was uniformly grey and rainy; we even got some hail.

Thursday, January 02, 2020

Remembering November Shadows

I took these photos last November.  We tend to get grey, foggy days in November, which often turn the sunrises into smudges of increasing light.  Some mornings are greyer than others, which results in no distinct sunrise.  Other days, the sun rises like a faintly glowing perl in a field of silver light.   On those latter days, sunlight weakly shining behind groves and copses throws bars of shadow westward.

There'd been enough times driving that I'd wanted to stop the car to photograph the fog and shadow play that I knew I wanted to head out one Saturday morning and see what kinds of images I could get.  Mark went along, too.

This particular Saturday wasn't as foggy and overcast as the previous work days, but I managed to get a few shots that I was happy with.  I had hoped to catch the shadows in the fog, but caught instead how the sunlight was shining through the trees.

I didn't bring my tripod, which Mark was probably grateful for.

Apparently, I took some accidental photos.  I vaguely remember playing with a black-and-white setting on the camera, but I don't remember these particular shots.   I think I was hurrying to catch up to Mark, who had kept walking while I was trying to get the perfect shot. They're very arty.

I like the foggy days for the sense of mystery they bring, and the muffling blanket of silence that drapes over everything.  On they days where the balance of sunlight and fog is just right, I like the way trees and fences and flagpoles and flying birds have their masses extend into some shadow dimension -- as if your sense of vision had expanded into a hitherto unforeseen direction in space and time.

When the grey days (and rain) extend to weeks, all I want to do is hibernate.

On the gym front:  Went to the gym Thursday and did the new aerobic routine.  I've managed to put together a gym mix, which I need to tweak a little because some songs are just a little too fast.  Alas, the streaming service I use doesn't list the beats per minute, so I'm having to do things by ear.  It's weird not being able to hear anyone else or clinking of weights with my head earbuds... even without music playing not much outside noise gets in.  I'm thinking I might alternate earbud-free days just so I don't feel so anti-social.

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Undecorating and Planning

Today was the day we packed up a majority of the Christmas items:  the tree, the ornaments, the cards, and most of the garlands.  Mark wasn't sure how he was going to get all of the breakfast cereal out of his Cereal Ornaments, and I suggested using boiling hot water.  Surprisingly, the loops of cereal shrank like shrinky-dinks and floated right out of the opening.  He experimented with cold water, which shrank them down, only not nearly as quickly.

Our Winter Configuration is to have the round table in the front window, and the couch in the breakfast nook.  This year's Christmas tree was especially large and dense, and having it out of the northern window area brings much more light into our living room.  The couch is next to the southern windows, so it creates a sunny place for us to sit (assuming the sun comes out).  The down side of all of this is that Smokey the cat thinks that the table is in the northern window for him to perch on so he can see if his second owners who live across the street are home (they love him greatly and I'm afraid they spoil him a little).  (John wonders where Smokey is, looks around the house, and finds him napping on the table....arg.)

The gilt angels on the mantel will stay there until the Ides of Winter.  The hellebore is still blooming in our front flower box.  The Child is still home from school, and I'll be glad when he starts attending classes again and isn't spending quite so much time watching You-Tube videos and playing Fortnite.

After cleaning, Mark and I walked downtown for a New Years Day early tea.  I keep hoping the place we went to will have poppy seed bagels, but for reasons inexplicable, they only seem to have sesame seed or everything bagels.  It's a fairly nice place to write during the day, but, alas, like most establishments in Eugene, they close at 7PM.

As we walked back, Mark led us on a detour to look at various murals, and some new venues that have opened up.  The murals are well executed; the artists used color and shading to make layers and figures pop out of the plane of the walls.  The food venues looked interesting, but I'm not sure how well they would lend themselves to writing.  On the way back home, we discussed various writing venues in Eugene, and came to the conclusion that building a writer's shed in the back yard might be the best route to go -- although I'm not sure how conducive to writing we could make it:  if we keep a structure simple and relatively small, we shouldn't need a building permit from the city, but that means no water or electricity in it.  Possibly a small solar panel and battery setup could provide rudimentary lighting, but heat in the winter would be an issue.

Gym Report:  Went to the gym on the last day of 2019 and did my old routine.  Predictably, today my upper chest and arms are sore.  I'm going to continue to alternate new and old routines... possibly going to the gym four days instead of three days out of the week.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Moon, Saturn, Venus and Jupiter

 The Friday after Thanksgiving, I managed to get some photographs of the Moon, Saturn, Venus and Jupiter.

We had some computer problems shortly afterward which prevented a proper download of the photos from my camera.  (The camera can do some wireless transfers to a mobile device, but I noticed the image quality was vastly inferior to using a cable to directly copy image files to a hard drive.)

At the end of a day of decorating my folks' Christmas tree, I excused myself and went out to the southern slope of the hill where they live.

The crescent moon was out, but none of the other planets was visible.  I was glad that I got out a little early, because it allowed me to find a good spot to set up the tripod.   Then I waited and tried not to fiddle around with the zoom too much (which requires re-focusing).

I did wish that I'd managed to have a clear sky several nights prior when the Moon would have been much closer to Venus and Jupiter, but the Moon that Friday made it easier to find Saturn.

Writing: I got out of the house Monday and edited a long non-fiction piece that's been rattling around.  It needs some cleaning up, and I should decide if I'm going to post it in installments to this blog or if I'm just going to push it out to Amazon or something.

Gym report:  went to the gym Monday and did the new routine.  I allowed myself a ten day break; the last time I was at the gym was Friday, December 20.  I got some earbuds over the break and tried them out; I have to say that not hearing nihilistic music about some dude's co-dependent relationship and general mess of a life was kind of nice.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Photographing Raptors In December

 Last Friday I went to the Raptor Center.  Clouds hid the sun and turned everything grey, which made photographing the hawks, owls, and vultures difficult because the mesh of their mews popped out.  I played with the ISO of the camera a bit, which improved the shots a little.   The best shots were when the handlers came out and displayed the birds.

I think the trick to photographing animals in cages is to get close to the bars or mesh and only photograph animals that are far away from the barrier and zooming in as much as possible; this will blur the barrier, especially if you make sure to manually focus on the animal's eyes, feathers, or fur (yes, this works a lot better on subjects who are staying mostly still).   Shorter lens-to-subject distance, shorter depth of field.

Arg, and I had set the aperture to an 8 f-stop, so I had a really wide depth of field for the photos; if I had used an 1 f-stop, the aperture would have been wider, I could have used a shorter exposure time, the depth of field would have been narrower, and I would have been able to blur the bars out more.  Oh well; on the plus side, the grid in some of my photos is useful for studies of the birds' symmetries.

If the sun had been out (it had been the day before) there would have been more light on the birds.  And it would have been warmer.  There were quite a few folks there:  families and possibly a group of home-schoolers.  I was slightly surprised because it was Friday after Christmas (i.e. the Third Day), and I thought folks would be out of town or shopping, but I'm sure it was good business for the Center.

The birds seemed interested in me, which was charming and also made me worried that I was agitating them.  I was wearing my grey/green wool cloak to stay warm and to also have something to cover the camera with, and in the back of my mind I worried the birds might think I was a Really Large Bird.

Luckily none of them seemed to freak out.  I don't know if it was the cloak, or the camera, or the tripod, or my voice, but they all seemed to follow my movements as I aimed the camera at them and took photos (the vulture seemed very curious about my singing).  The exception were the birds on the wrists of handlers; then they were mostly interested in eating rats and mice.

It's rewarding to see the raptors and photograph them.  The hawks always remind me of Egyptian art, and I could look at the feather patterns (on their wings especially) all day.  Next time, I'm going to have to go on a more pleasant day and bring my Book of Art so I can try sketching them.

Near the end of my visit, I ran into an old acquaintance from my madrigal days with Pearwood, and we spent about five minutes catching up.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Looking For Whales

 Yesterday, we went to the coast to look for whales.  Grey whales usually migrate from Alaska to go and calve in the warmer waters off of Mexico.

At the Sea Lion Caves, we didn't see any whales.  The Child and I descended into the rocky depths to see the interior of the caves.  It was smelly.  The aroma of Stellar sea lions is not lovely, and I can only guess it's the combination of sea lion effluvia and dead fish remains of sea lion meals.  We could smell it along the ridge above the cave's entrance.  It was worse when we stepped off of the elevator and into the subterranean shadows.  Sea lion calls and crashing waves echoed within the dim confines of the grotto.  Red, blue, and green LED lights provided some light.

The sea lions rested--as well as they could--among the tumble of rocks lining the edge of a pool of pulsing sea water.  Foamy waves from the nearly high tide crashed in through the main opening of the cave and misted everything with spray.   There are three openings to the caves, a large one to the north, where people can enter (before 1962 by a now removed wooden tower of stairs), a small one to the south that typically looks like a rocky stairway to heaven (and is flooded during high tide), and a large oceanic entrance to the northwest which the sea lions swim in and out of.   There's probably certain days and hours when the sun can actually penetrate the cave, but we must not have been visiting then.  (The day, which had started out sunny, grew progressively cloudy and foggy.)

There were many sea lions in the cave.  One was perched like a ballerina on the highest rock; the majority rested along the edge of the pool and up the cave walls.  There was a baby parked right next to the concrete wall we stood behind, which was an exciting discovery--you had to stand right next to the low wall, press your head against the metal cable bars preventing humans from entering the grotto proper, and look down and over the wall as best you could to see the

I'm sure I'm projecting, but the Stellar sea lions looked like miserable wet things flung about the rocks--like a whole village of Gollums, or possibly the wretchedly muddy peasant village from the "Bring Out Your Dead" scene in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."   The sea lions frolicking outside the cave in the Pacific waves looked much happier.  We looked for whales but didn't see any.

We did notice a spiky plant that looked like a cross between a succulent and rosemary.

We left the cave and continued our quest for whales.  We spent some time at Mary Hill Beach.  The Child stayed in the car while Mark and I went onto the thin strip of rocky beach, looked vaguely for agates and other interesting rocks, and were on our guard against sneaker waves.   We didn't find any agates because it was high tide, but there were some banded igneous rocks.  We also didn't see any whales.  The day became more overcast.

Then it was off to the Spouting Horn and Thor's Well.  I don't know why it's called Thor's Well.  The recently high tide crashed against the basalt plateau.  We walked along the bridge over Cook's Chasm and looked at the Spouting Horn from the south (which I'd never done before).  We looked for whales.

We watched some guy photograph his (presumably) girlfriend doing yoga poses over the chasm.  Mark offered critique of poses, and I made up pose names like, "Preening Mountain Slide Into the Ocean."  (I'm pretty sure this was a casebook example of taking one's main squeeze somewhere exhilarating because the physiological reaction to danger transfers to feelings of lustful arousal-- and they made out in the underbrush after their photoshoot.  Okay, they were practically making out on the trail above the crashing waves before the photoshoot.)

Spouting Horn spouted.  There was little wind, so the mist afterward hovered over the feature for an extended amount of time.  The waves beat themselves into a froth at the narrow end of Cook's Chasm, but weren't a thick blanket of dirty yellow foam (as they sometimes are) in the channel before the spout.   We didn't spot any whales.

We did see the light of a boat, far off to sea, and Mark remarked that crabbing season had just started, so we assumed it was a fisher-boat setting its crab-pots.

It wasn't safe to go down to Thor's Well for photographs, but that didn't stop someone with a tripod from approaching it.  They got a little wet, but stayed far enough away from the well to be in any great danger of being sucked into a basalt hole that is twenty feet deep and lined with sea anemones, and then pounded to death by tons ocean surge.  We looked and looked but we didn't see any whales.  Neither did the nice couple from Nebraska who said they'd come from farther north along the coast.

The cats were happy that we arrived home before Dinner Time instead of an hour afterward.

Maybe we'll see the whales some other day.