Saturday, July 18, 2009

... i heart chunk

well, quiet day, all things considered. after my breakfast i wandered around astoria, west of 14th street, where my hostel is situated, with the intention of checking out east of 14th street tomorrow. one of the places i spent some time in was called one red hare, where i got to talking with the proprietor, scott docherty, about all kinds of things musical. i'll be there for a gig tomorrow night and would have seen a gig tonight but, alas, the performer never showed up. i hope he's ok. happily, tomorrow night's performer dropped in to hear tonight's guy so we at least have a good chance of seeing her play tomorrow night!

i found a great place called the three cups coffee house, where they forced a free coffee card on me to apologise for putting froth on my mocha (alas!). i walked further west along marine drive, just past the astoria bridge to washington, crossed the road, and followed the astoria streetcar back to my hostel's street (14th). i took a bunch of photos, which i will, at some point, have to put on here somehow (i guess i'll have to open a flickr account or something...) but not right now.

after finding out the gig for tonight was cancelled i walked around for a while, dropped into a diner for a cup of coffee while i finished the barack obama book, dreams from my father. it was pretty good. i had to keep reminding myself of when he'd written it (it was first published in 1994) so that i could keep the timeline of what he was writing straight in my head. worth reading. there is another book i'd like to read, which has lately been credited as being the one that inspired obama to look towards the presidency, team of rivals by doris kearns goodwin. a quick google of the title, however, almost imediately pulled up an article from the los angeles times questioning a certain pollyannaism in goodwin's analysis of lincoln's "team of rivals". by the sound of it, things may well go worse for obama's administration before they get better and in this modern world of truly mercurial public opinion nationwide (and not merely in chicago) he may not have the legs to last the run...

so, tomorrow, i plan to go to the maritime museum and the astoria column, two rich heritage locations here in astoria that will help give me a greater appreciation for astoria's rich and long history. in 2011 astoria will celebrate its bicentennial, a fine thing for a town that burned down twice, built as it had been on pilings over the columbia river. an information plaque down near the maritime museum says that one could fish the river through the sidewalk while waiting for the streetcar. no longer, however, the town's main drag along the riverfront having been built up from the dredging of the riverbed, which also assisted in easing the passage of riverine traffic.

the columbia river mouth remains one of the most treacherous bodies of water in the continental united states, the shifting sandbars (despite some stabilisation afforded by the construction of breakwaters?) continue to pose significant hazards to shipping in both directions up- and downstream and the pilots navigating the bar and the river continue to provide an essential service to the maritime community here in oregon and in washington.

but for now, good night!

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