A Squishy Excursion at Emigrant Lake

Parenting changes when your kids decide that they want to be teenagers. They become more independent and self reliant, while at the same time still remaining needy little baby birds. Its weird. 

So I have decided to take every advantage over the few remaining years to spend time with these moody critters as a family. We took a short adventure to Emigrant Lake today. Originally it was going to be a much more involved trip with kayaks and picnics, but we ended up shaving it down to a quick stack of burritos from Ruby’s and exploring lesser accessed portions of the lake. 

Enter Songer Wayside, an access to the lake just a few miles out Highway 66. We discovered it at the beginning of summer on our trip to Hyatt Lake, and have only just organized ourselves to make an excursion to actually explore this unknown to us access to the lake. 

It was a fun little excursion. The lake is at a super low point being the end of summer, so much of the area near the parking lot was dry spongy lake bed, I lovingly described the scene as one which reminds me of what it would be like to traverse the surface of a day old turd. But the beautiful greenery sprouting up around the terraced water lines, and the brisk stream cutting through the soft earth and flowing into the lake made the moonscape much more charming.

waterline at emigrant lake

Emigrant Lake
Dry Lakebed

One more note about Songer Wayside. Beware the bathroom. I discovered this after a frantic and clenched waddle I had to make from half way across the lake to perform a very demanding #2. I was reluctant to make the very uncomfortable journey and leave my family in the slushy-like lake bed, as I have seen enough murder mysteries to know that if they disappeared, I would be the first suspect…but the call to squat was just too strong and I knew in my present state I would be no help in a crisis anyway. 

Upon arriving at the public restroom the first discovery I made was a door which does not lock, good sign, leaving me lingering in terror that someone would spring into the room to criticize/admire my bathroom habits. Not an optimal environment for a pleasant BM. So after rushing my job another surprise greeted me. The door latch jams shut and you have to slam yourself into the door to get the hell out, it’s fun. Which made for a charming story to tell upon returning to the family. 

Job Site Cleanliness

For the last few years I have almost always ran a shop-vac on my chopsaw. It keeps my workspace clean and leaves less of a mess for me to have to clean up, and also means my dust isn’t interfering with other workers, especially painters who may be on site.

One of the first things I noticed when I started working on construction sites 7 years ago, was the difference in the attitudes of the subcontractors when a site was clean vs when it’s dirty.

When the job site is clean, people tend to pick up after themselves and take greater care in the work that they do. It makes the job site a little less hectic and stressful.

It’s always the right thing to do the right thing. Your efforts will eventually pay back.

Shooting Roller Derby

Roller Derby is a mostly all women’s sport. Typically played in a gym or area mostly flat track though sometimes banked. Here is a link for a little explanation.

I started shooting roller derby back in 2010 on my old Canon AE-1 Prog 35mm film camera. I was hooked immediately, the drama, athleticism, and showmanship is very attractive for a photographer. I’ve been one of the official photogs for the Southern Oregon Roller Derby, and have also covered a few Siskiyou Rollerz bouts as well.


While I do shoot with a DSLR, I don’t have the funds or financial incentive to invest too much in my lenses or body. I shoot with a Canon T2i and primarily prime lenses. That is lenses with no zoom. I pack a 50mm, 85mm and a 24mm pancake lens. I also recently picked up a Canon G15 point and shoot, but I haven’t tried it out at a bout yet I’m concerned about it’s shutter lag.

I tend to opt for natural lighting. And while I do have a flash I use every so often, I make sure I don’t point it directly at the skaters so as not to interfere with the bout.



I am a bit of a documentary photographer. I tend to not interact too much with the skaters. I like to capture the event as if I wasn’t involved. There are shortcomings to this of-course. Having a more interactive relationship, can yield more theatrical and engaging shots. This is something I do need to work on.

My Smart Watch Experience

Tickwatch E and Pebble2
The Tickwatch E and The Pebble 2

A few years ago on an episode of This Week in Tech one of the hosts made the statement, “The Pebble is the perfect smartwatch, because you only have to spend $100 to realize you don’t need a smart watch.” Truer words have never been spoken. 

Since then I have had both the original Pebble, as well as the Pebble 2 and Pebble Time. I have loved them all. But since Fitbit acquired Pebble and is planning on ending support soon I have been on a very reluctant search to find a replacement. 

The first attempt was a strike-out. I gave the Tickwatch E a try.

Strike One- First thing I noticed was how huge it was on my wrist.

Strike Two- Second thing I noticed was how awkward the gestures were to awaken the watch. Very unnatural and dramatic wrist rolling.

Strike Three- Poor battery life. I was used to getting 5 days out of an always on display. I just couldn’t accept a 3/4 day charge on a watch that would only tell me the time if I made a large round wheel with my wrist.

Still on the search. There are a few contenders. The Amazfit looks interesting.