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Good start to game, tough end to Tigers' season Thursday, May 31, 2007

Tyler Watson (right) gets a warm welcome at home plate Tuesday after hitting a leadoff home run in Stanfield's semifinal game at Portland Christian. Watson's home run sparked a 4-run first inning, but the Tigers were shutout for the remainder of the game, losing 6-4. Portland Christian will play Riddle Friday in Keizer for the 2A/1A state championship.

You can follow the baseball playoffs on the OSAA's website.

Memorial Day in Gresham Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Members of the Columbia River Marine Corps League line up to present the colors May 28 at the Memorial Day ceremony in Gresham's Main City Park.

More than 100 people gathered at Main City Park in Gresham Monday to honor veterans and the fallen on Memorial Day. You can read more about the ceremony in the Outlook.

The ceremony was held at the future site of the Gresham Heroes Memorial. Once enough funding has been secured for the project, that corner of the park will honor those who have served their country or community in any branch of the military, police, or fire services. You can read more about that project here.

Cindy Persons holds her husband Dave's hand May 28 at the Memorial Day ceremony at Main City Park in Gresham. Dave Persons recently retired from the Gresham Fire Department.

Taking one for the team Sunday, May 27, 2007

Gresham High School students admire their work May 23 after waxing the first strip of hair off Coach Chris Koenig's chest in the training room at their school.

After the boys 4x400 relay team finished third at the state meet in 2006, Coach Chris Koenig agreed to let the four returning members—Peter DeBois, Gavin Reidel, Spencer Clark and Shaun Lambert—wax his chest if they won in Eugene this year. The team sprinted to the gold medal with a time of 3:20.37, a new school record.

"Either way, it's a win-win," Koenig recalls thinking when he agreed to the procedure. "If they win, it's great, I'll endure it. If not, nothing happens."

May 23, the bet came due. Armed with an electric razor and waxing kit loaned by a local salon, the relay team and more than a dozen others crowded into the tiny training room and waited for their coach.

The equipment may have been professional quality, but the technicians were not. In fact, the boys gathered for the event freely admitted that they had no experience with waxing whatsoever.

The few women and girls on hand gave instruction and assistance to the boys, and after a few tries they started making progress on the thicket that lay on the table before them.

After enduring 40 minutes of haphazard, inexperienced treatment that left his hirsute chest a patchy clear-cut, coach Koenig decided that the bet had been honored.

How will he top this prize if the team wins next year? "I guess it's the back," he says.

Gresham High School track and field coach Chris Koenig, before (left) and after (below).

To see Coach Koenig's reaction during the waxing, pick up a copy of the May 26 edition of The Gresham Outlook and turn to the Sports section.

Tumble on the track Thursday, May 24, 2007

Phil King of Pilot Rock High School trips over the last hurdle May 19 in the 2A boys 300-meter hurdles at the state track & field championships in Monmouth. He was close to the lead at the time, but the fall dropped him to eighth.

One of the schools I covered at last Saturday's track meet was Pilot Rock HS, located in the town of the same name south of Pendleton. They weren't one of the stronger teams at the 2A meet—the boys finished 27th out of 30 teams, the girls were 22nd out of 31—but they did have a strong contender in Phil King who qualified fourth for the finals in both the 110-meter and 300-meter hurdles.

Hurdles is one of my favorite track and field events because almost anything can happen. Take Canadian hurdler Perdita Felicien, for example, who was expected to win gold at the 2004 Olympics, but hit the first hurdle in the finals and recorded a DNF.

I don't remember what happened in the 110-meter event, but Phil finished eighth, well off his seed and preliminary times. But in the 300-meter hurdles, Phil was competitive, running neck-and-neck with the leaders. And I had my camera trained on him as he headed down the last straight.

Disaster struck on the last hurdle, just 10 meters from the finish line. Phil caugh
t his lead toe on the hurdle, stumbled and fell. His first instinct was to get up and keep running, but I guess the fall hurt a bit, because he fell back on the track on his elbows and knees. A few seconds later, after banging his fist on the track in frustration, he recomposed himself, got up and walked across the finish line and straight to the first aid tent.

You can find all the results from the track and field state championships here.

Clinton-Mukilteo Ferry Wednesday, May 23, 2007

(right) Passengers board the MV Cathlamet May 22 in Clinton, Wash. The ferry can accommodate up to 124 vehicles for the 15-minute trip from Whidbey Island to Mukilteo.

(left) The Cathlamet approaches the ferry dock in Mukilteo, Wash. She and her sister ship, MV Kittitas, sail across Possession Sound every 30 minutes.

(left) The vehicle loading dock at Mukilteo is designed to accommodate the ferry at various tide levels. A system of pulleys and counterweights adjust the angle of the ramp depending on the water level in Possession Sound, which can change by as much as 15 feet in seven hours.

Read more about the Cathlamet and the Washington State Ferries here.

Upper Clackamas Whitewater Festival Sunday, May 20, 2007

Val Shaull faces a wall of water May 20 after navigating gate 4 on the Carter Falls slalom course at the Upper Clackamas Whitewater Festival near Estacada. Shaull finished second in the Inflatable Kayak class.

The 24th annual Upper Clackamas Whitewater Festival was held over the past weekend southeast of Estacada. Hundreds of paddlers brought their rafts and kayaks to the Clackamas River to participate in workshops, races, and social interaction with fellow boaters.

The event is organized by the Northwest Rafters Association.

Eli "The Splatmaster" Jamieson braces his inflatable kayak in a slalom race at the 2007 Upper Clackamas Whitewater Festival.

OSAA Track & Field Saturday, May 19, 2007

Girls compete in the 100-meter hurdles Saturday at the 3A state track & field championships in Monmouth, Ore.

I spent the day covering the OSAA small-school track & field championships in at Western Oregon University in Monmouth (west of Salem) for a selection of papers from across the state.

This (right) is probably my coolest shot of the day. None of the athletes in this photo are from any of "my" schools, but it was a practice for the next event which did have one of my girls.

Unfortunately, when the "real" photo came around, the race was less competitive—the girls in the middle were well ahead of those in the outside lanes, and the girl I needed a photo of was on the far side of the track. It wasn't a big deal, because she didn't win, but it still would have been a nice photo for the paper.

I'm off to bed now, but if I have time later I might post a few more photos from the event.

SOD Show updated Thursday, May 17, 2007

Another PSA from the editor: I've just updated the Street of Dreams slide show. The first batch of photos are the same (I did remove a few), but there are about 24 new pictures at the end.

Check it out at

Sports Shooter update

Max Gorman of Hood River Valley puts some body English on his putt on the 13th hole Tuesday.

I don't have much to say today. But I did update my Sports Shooter page this morning with some images from the golf tournament I shot on Tuesday. You can check it out at

As a special bonus, here are a couple that I didn't put on that page.

It was fun watching these kids play. They are a lot more emotive than the pro golfers I usually avoid watching on TV. I wish I could have followed Max Gorman (right) around all day. Every time I saw him, he was bending and twisting and verbally coaxing the ball to go where he wanted. You don't get a whole lot of jubilation out of them—I saw one fist pump all day, and barely a smile on the winner's face after he finished—but you do see frustration on a regular basis. And these kids can play: all of them can hit below their weight (which is more than I can do), and the best shoot rounds close to par on a regular basis. Two hit holes-in-one on the first day of the tournament, and there were six rounds below par, including Philip Bagdade's superb 66 on day 2.

A course official explains the rules about broken clubs to Will Guitteau Tuesday after he played two strokes with a putter he had broken in frustration on the previous hole. The freshman from Grant High School was disqualified because of the infraction.

OSAA 6A Golf Championships Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Sand flies as Todd Vrooman of Tualatin hits out of a bunker Tuesday on the fourth hole at the OGA course in Woodburn. Vrooman finished tied for fifth with a two-day score of 145 (+1).

Yesterday I covered the final day of the 6A boys golf championships in at the OGA Golf Course in Woodburn (just south of Portland). The results are posted here.

High school golf is played both as a team sport and an individual contest. The individual winners are calculated much the same way as at a PGA event. Team scores are calculated by totaling the scores of five players from the same school.

For the golf championships, the top two teams from each district qualify for the meet, as do the three
highest individuals not on one of those teams. In class 6A, 91 golfers from across the state qualified for the tournament.

(right) Philip Bagdade puts his 66th shot of the day into the 18th hole Tuesday afternoon at the 6A boys golf championships in Woodburn. Though he started the day tied for 11th, five shots off the pace, the Sheldon junior blew past the competition with a solid second round, winning the individual title by two strokes.

(left) After playing the 18th hole, Grant's Will Guitteau looks a club he broke in frustration on the previous hole. Course officials ruled that the club was "modified other than in the normal course of play," and he was disqualified for using it.

Philip Bagdade (table, at right) cringes as he awaits the team results. Sheldon came up two strokes behind Jesuit for the team title.

Violin repair Monday, May 14, 2007

Alberto Garcia sands the ebony fingerboard of a repaired violin.

As you can probably tell, I enjoyed watching Alberto work. Most professional violinists won't let a lesser hand touch their v
iolins lest they be damaged; Alberto goes at them with chisels and saws. And they come out better than when he started.

(below) Alberto whittles down a new nut for the violin.

(above) Alberto's daughter, Dhamar, marvels at the fine black powder produced by sanding the ebony.

(left) Alberto gives the re-strung violin a quick tuning before returning it to the customer. He doesn't play the violin at all, just enough to tune the instruments he works on.

Teaching ESL in Mexico Sunday, May 13, 2007

Anne reviews an ESL student's homework May 2 at FedEx's warehouse in Toluca, Mexico. Anne gives one-hour English lessons to two students there every day.

Since moving to Mexico last summer, Anne has been earning a living as an English-as-a-second-language (ESL) teacher. She works primarily for a school there that sends teachers to various corporate and industrial companies in the Toluca area, but also has one or two private clients. Class sizes range from one to six students.

Because the students generally take their lessons before or after their normal working hours, Anne's day starts early and finishes late, with a long gap in the middle. The first class of the day starts at 7 a.m., and the last one finishes at about 9 p.m. If she has the car, the classes are fairly easy for her to get to; on days that she has to take the bus it is a little more difficult—particularly between her two evening classes, when she has just 30 minutes to make a drive that takes 29 minutes in good traffic.

(right) Anne acts out both voices of a dialogue with her hands as she teaches English to students at FedEx's Toluca warehouse. It would be better for the students to hear other voices and other accents, she says, but they do not have a CD player.

(above) Anne catches a quick power nap while waiting for the students to arrive for her first afternoon class. (right) Only two of her students at Ritchie Brothers made it to class May 2. Ritchie Bros. is a Canadian company that holds heavy equipment auctions for international buyers four times a year.

May 1—Labor Day in Mexico Friday, May 11, 2007

Anne and Alberto live in a typical Mexican house.

I didn't know it until about three days before, but May 1 is Labor Day in Mexico, a holiday for most people. Anne had the day off, so I couldn't follow her to work that day. In fact, we didn't do a whole lot that day.

I had some running around to do, as did she, so we went to the Soriano, a large department store in an American-style mall on the road to Toluca. I bought a bottle of tequila to bring home, and she left some digital photos to be printed.

Then we went off to the market in Santiago Tianguistenco where I bought a couple t-shirts, she bought a t-shirt and toilet paper.

We also had lunch there, a fantastic meal of tacos bought from a vendor in the market. Picture this—a large plate full of chicken, pork and sausage, with grilled onions, French fries and nopales, plus as many tortillas and as much salsa (three different types) as you needed, all for 40 pesos. Add in a couple of horchatas for another 5 pesos each, and you've stuffed two bellies for less than $5.

And that was the big event of the day.

A day in the life of a luthier Thursday, May 10, 2007

Alberto waits in Ocoyoacac, Mexico, early in the morning of Apr. 30 for the bus to Mexico City. It would have been quicker to take his car, but he can't take his car into the city on Mondays due to Mexico City's anti-congestion laws. To get to his first stop, he had to transfer from the bus to the subway, and then to another bus.

April 30 I had the opportunity to follow violin-maker Alberto Garcia around on a day at work. He doesn't go
to visit musicians every day, but I think it was a fairly typical day for him. If you want a new violin, or need yours repaired, contact Alberto in Mexico at 044-55-3673-7551 (cel.).

Alberto needs violin strings for a client who has one of Alberto's violins on trial, so the first stop of the day is the only one store in the Distrito Federal that sells quality strings.

After buying strings, he makes another two-bus ride to the campus of the Escuela Medico Militar in Mexico City, where he delivers the strings to Samuel Murillo during a break in the Orquesta del Ejercito's rehearsal.

Samuel still needs some adjustments when practice resumes, so Alberto is stuck waiting for another 50 minutes.

After the Orquesta's practice is finished, Alberto makes some additional adjustments to the strings, bridge, and sound peg. While Samuel played the instrument to check the adjustments, Alberto took some time to chat with other musicians and hand out business cards.

After a long day in the city, Alberto dozes on the two-bus ride back to Ocoyoacac.

Back at home, Alberto is back in the shop repairing a damaged violin. While sales of new violins are the highlight of his year, most of his work comes from repairs.

Lost in translation Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Shortly after the wedding (perhaps on the way home, I can't remember), it occurred to me that in the excitement of the wedding (and in the absence of a formal photo session between the ceremony and reception) we hadn't made any portraits of just Alberto and Anne. We had photos of them with every family that attended, and "action shots" taken during the ceremony and reception, but no formal portraits.

So I made arrangements with them to go to a park in Toluca
the following Sunday to correct the situation.

Anne didn't have her shawl anymore (mum had taken it back to Canada), but otherwise they look pretty much as they did the day of the wedding.

Anne suggested the park as a nice setting, and we figured there wouldn't be many people there on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Boy, were we wrong! I don't know if it's a routine thing or not, but there was some kind of festival going on, with people dressed up in mascot costumes, vendors of all kinds, and kids running all over the place.

We managed to find a few select locations that weren't completely strewn with garbage or dead foliage, and spent about 45 minutes making portraits.

The portrait above will probably go down as the "official" wedding portrait. But I like this one (right), which seems more like the crazy couple they are. I think Anne was reacting to Alberto's laughter which, I believe, was in response to some direction I'd given them. I'm not sure, though, whether he thought the direction itself was funny, or just the way I said it in Spanish.

OK, that should be it for wedding photos.

Virtuos Violins Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Alberto Garcia builds a new scroll for a damaged violin Apr. 28 in the workshop behind his home in Ocoyoacac, Mexico.

Alberto is a luthier who makes and repairs violins and violas. He has studied with Italian masters in Montreal, as well as craftsmen in his native Mexico.

Need a new, custom-made violin? Contact Virtuos Violins in Mexico, 044-55-3673-7551 (cel.). Coming soon to Canada.

More than salsa ... Monday, May 07, 2007

Anne prepares French toast for her family Apr. 28 in Ocoyoacac, Mexico.

Just because Anne's learned to cook Mexican food doesn't mean she has forgotten her roots. Saturday morning she made French toast for the family. It went particularly well with the maple syrup Stuart and Sue brought from Canada when they came for the wedding. Dhamar didn't want any, though ... too bad for her, more for the rest of us!

Making dinner

Anne Ginn makes green salsa Apr. 27 at home in Ocoyoacac, Mexico.

Since Anne has moved to Mexico, she's learned to cook Mexican food. Like green salsa, which she makes on a regular basis: tomatillos (or tomates, as they are known in Mexico), a couple green jalapeƱos, onions, garlic, and a bit of water. Probably a bit of salt, too, but I don't remember that part. Blender it all up. I think that's it.

Great with rice, pork, tortillas, and lots of other things.

(right) Anne multitasks, blending salsa as she stirs the rice. (below) The problem with plastic blenders, Anne says, is they don't have enough weight to stay on the base.

Calixtlahuaca Sunday, May 06, 2007

The temple dedicated to Ehecatl, better known to archaeologists as Structure 3, is the best known edifice at Calixtlahuaca, just north of Toluca, Mexico.

On Thursday (Apr. 26), Anne and Alberto went back to work, so Mum, Dad and I were left to fend for ourselves. Before coming down to Mexico, Dad had wanted to check out the Aztec temples at Teotihuacan. But they are northeast of Mexico City, and we were west of the city, without a car, and the bus trip between the two points would have taken half a day in and of itself. So we looked around for something closer.

Sure enough, the AAA travel guide listed some pre-conquest ruins in Calixtlahuaca, just north of Toluca. Following Anne's instructions, we boarded a bus in Ocoyoacac bound for the terminal in Toluca. There, we
hired a cab which took us directly to the site.

Peter and Alison Ginn descend the relatively sane slope on the exterior of Structure 3 after climbing a much steeper staircase on the interior.

Set atop a hill above the town for which it is named, the Calixtlahuaca site is probably not very impressive
compared to Teotihuacan. There are only two major temples there, and not very big ones at that. And the guide there didn't speak English, and didn't really seem interested in helping us anyway. But in some ways (and I don't mean just proximity) it was better. Specifically, apart from one other group of three, we were the only tourists there. The site (apart from the bathrooms, I'm told) was clean, there were no barricades or restrictions, and no gift shop at the end.

Calixtlahuaca is an active archaeological site. Led by a team from Arizona State University, there was a group of people uncovering what they suspected was a 800+ year-old house near the entrance to the site, and a survey team working near the large structures at the top of the hill. For more information on the site and the ASU team's efforts, check out their blog, You can also see their official website,