Pacific City, Oregon A Hidden Gem

Well, here we are in beautiful Pacific City, Oregon. We’re looking forward to horseback rides on the beach with the lovely folks at Green Acres Horseback Rides. I’m currently having a cappuccino at Stimulus before going over to Grateful Bread for breakfast (when the others wake up).

Across the street is Cape Kiwanda. It’s a gorgeous little beach where they launch dories for fishing. Haystack rock sits right off the beach and the ocean is calm for now. I was hoping to get some early morning beach combing done but our upstairs neighbors were up until 2am stomping around and slamming doors. I tell ya, they weren’t still for 2 minutes at a time. I don’t know what they were doing in that small room that required constant stomping across the floor and slamming doors but clearly they believe they are the only people on the planet. I’m no lightweight and I can walk without making the floorboards tremble, which is more than the upstairs people could do. This morning the 6:30 dog patrol started barking so I got about 4 hours of sleep. This may make me a little cranky this morning.

Thankfully the lovely people at Stimulus just handed me my coffee. That should improve my disposition exponentially. Also free wifi helps a great deal. K

A Little Bit of Gardening

IMG_2641

IMG_2641Well this heat has made my roses very happy–at least so long as I water them frequently. I only have one red rose and it was languishing in the spot I had originally chosen for it. Last fall we moved it to a better spot and it is flourishing.

Gladiolus

Gladiolus

The hummingbirds I suspected were nesting in the neighbor’s tree which overhangs my garden proved to be doing just that. A few nights ago I was treated to the sight off 4 little ones buzzing around in the tree while the 2 parents watched from the top of the tree. I wish I could have gotten a picture but they are iridescent green against green leaves that are almost the same size as the birds and while I could see them when they flitted about, I doubt my cell phone could have captured enough detail for a picture to be worth while.

I also discovered that I have a spectacular gladiolus in my flowerbed. I don’t know how I lucked into this beauty but I hope it blooms again next year. Watering seems to be key when it gets warmer. Last year the gladiolus didn’t flower and I suspect it’s because I failed to water them enough.

Speaking of watering and growing, my Gunnera are growing very well. I’m very pleased with them. I hope they get huge next year. From what I’ve read about them, they take a year to establish themselves.

Gunnera

Gunnera

I also have some Coleus that is happy as can be and some New Zealand Impatiens that are gorgeous and flowering for the second time since I got them. K.

New Zealand Impatien

New Zealand Impatien

The Sports Page in Tigard Scores High

The Sports Page Beer Menu

The Sports Page Beer Menu

The Sports Page Beer Menu

We discovered The Sports Page in Tigard a month or so ago and really enjoy having a mini-date on Monday’s there. Their Micro Monday’s are just ridiculous: Microbrews for $3.75 a pint! The Happy Hour menu is just sick, it’s so good and so cheap.

We broke our “Keno rule” to try this place out one Monday when we just wanted to relax a bit after work and we are so glad we did. For the record our “Keno rule” is that we don’t eat in restaurants that have Keno because we seem to always get terrible service when we do.

This is not the case at The Sports Page. The service is fast, friendly and just really a delight. The fish tacos are the best I’ve ever had and during happy hour they are $3.00 apiece. I kid you not. That’s less than a volcano burrito from Taco Bell and way more tasty. It’s a good portion too. While I wish I could eat six of them, one with the little side of chips and salsa fills me up. I never walk away hungry and I never finish my chips and salsa.

Of course it’s a sports bar so they have big screen high def televisions all over the place. You can sit and relax, have delicious food, good beer and watch your favorite team. Just so you know, we had a fish taco apiece, a beer and a cosmopolitan (and they don’t skimp on the booze either, my friend) and the total bill came to $15.00 before tip. Yeah $15.00 before tip. For two people with drinks. I know places where the cosmopolitan alone would cost that much. The food is absolutely delicious too.

As with most of the best places you’ll find, The Sports Page is tucked back behind a strip mall so you have to know it’s there. Believe me it’s a find too. It’s an inexpensive way to add a little extra date night to your work week and get delicious food with excellent service. K.

Hubble Space Telescope Solves Galactic Mystery

Hubble Image of Magellanic Stream courtesy of NASA

Hubble Image of Magellanic Stream courtesy of NASA

Hubble Image of Magellanic Stream courtesy of NASA

The Hubble Space Telescope has been one of NASA’s many shining successes. The images Hubble has taken and scientists have compiled over its brief lifespan have been nothing short of breathtaking. The Hubble Space Telescope Deep Field Survey expanded our universe by lightyears upon lightyears.

Recently Hubble was turned on a puzzling feature of our Galaxy: A long ribbon of gas, called the Magellanic Stream, that reaches quite literally almost half way around our own Milky Way Galaxy.

For 40 years scientists have wondered about this feature that seemed to follow behind the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, two dwarf galaxies that orbit our own galaxy. According to NASA:

Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have solved a 40-year mystery on the origin of the Magellanic Stream, a long ribbon of gas stretching nearly halfway around our Milky Way galaxy.
The Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, two dwarf galaxies orbiting the Milky Way, are at the head of the gaseous stream. Since the stream’s discovery by radio telescopes in the early 1970s, astronomers have wondered whether the gas comes from one or both of the satellite galaxies. New Hubble observations reveal most of the gas was stripped from the Small Magellanic Cloud about 2 billion years ago, and a second region of the stream originated more recently from the Large Magellanic Cloud.
A team of astronomers, led by Andrew J. Fox of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md., determined the source of the gas filament by using Hubble’s Cosmic Origins Spectrograph to measure the amount of heavy elements, such as oxygen and sulfur, at six locations along the Magellanic Stream. They observed faraway quasars, the brilliant cores of active galaxies, that emit light that passes through the stream. They detected the heavy elements from the way the elements absorb ultraviolet light.
Fox’s team found a low amount of oxygen and sulfur along most of the stream, matching the levels in the Small Magellanic Cloud about 2 billion years ago, when the gaseous ribbon is thought to have formed. In a surprising twist, the team discovered a much higher level of sulfur in a region of the stream that is closer to the Magellanic Clouds.

Also a quick video also from NASA and the Hubble Space Telescope featuring comet ISON

You can follow the Hubble Space Telescope very easily at the NASA web site. K.

Your Weekly War In Flesh Update

In The Flesh Cover Art

In The Flesh Cover Art

In The Flesh Cover Art

I worked on War In Flesh again this weekend. I was surprised that some of Ziya’s history came out. I was surprised by what her past is. That girl plays her cards close to her fictitious chest. I’ve been hoping to get to Dayyan and Evadne and Ziya and Meshaal keep getting in the way. Those two really want to be written about. All in all I had fun and got some interesting and good writing done. Next weekend I hope to keep up the momentum. K.

NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory Worth Following

Cassiopeia A courtesy of NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory

Cassiopeia A courtesy of NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory

Cassiopeia A courtesy of NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory

NASA, that most wonderful, educational, altruistic of Government programs makes much of what it discovers available free on the web. This is the purest of the lofty ideals of science as a discipline and as a philosophy: That what science discovers is for the benefit of all mankind not just the enrichment of a few.

The Chandra X-Ray Observatory, which you can easily follow in Facebook describes itself thusly:

NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory is a telescope specially designed to detect X-ray emission from very hot regions of the Universe such as exploded stars, clusters of galaxies, and matter around black holes.
Mission
Chandra is designed to observe X-rays from high-energy regions of the Universe.
Description
Since its launch on July 23, 1999, the Chandra X-ray Observatory has been NASA’s flagship mission for X-ray astronomy, taking its place in the fleet of “Great Observatories.”

NGC7793ChandraThey publish some of the most beautiful images of the stars and outer space that I’ve seen. They rival the Hubble Space Telescope and sometimes when I’m feeling a bit down or something I look at these gorgeous images of the universe we live in and they fill me with peace and awe. K.

Annual Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks Tonight, Aug 11

Perseid Map courtesy NASA

Perseid Map courtesy NASA

Perseid Map courtesy NASA

This map shows where, in North America, to look to see the Perseids. They seem to radiate out from the constellation Perseus.

The shooting stars we see during a meteor shower are in fact bits of rock, dust an debris falling into our atmosphere. The enormous friction caused by the high velocity of the objects and the density and composition of our atmosphere literally cause the objects to glow and burn as they enter.

The Perseids were once a part of the tail of the comet Swift-Tuttle, which orbits our sun once every 130 years. A piece of it got ripped off during an orbit and every year the Earth passes through the region of space where that debris floats in space. It is beautiful and awe inspiring to watch. I hope it clears up here so I can see some tonight.

According to NASA some 10 to 40 tons (I guess depending upon the day and the density of the material in any given part of space the Earth is passing through) fall into our atmosphere each day. Most of this is invisible to us. It takes one of the bigger showers like the Perseids or the Leonids for us to be able to see some of the meteoric entries into our atmosphere.

This is the universe happening right in our backyards here. If you have the chance, go out and spend a few minutes skywatching. some of the meteors even get bright enough to be seen through the glow of the city. K.