Thursday, September 27, 2012

Weekly Recommendations, Week 39: Darlingtonia State Natural Site

Driving along the Oregon Coast on Highway 101, beautiful sights, awesome views, and totally worthwhile stops abound. One in particular that I highly recommend is Darlingtonia State Natural Site, which I was fortunate enough to visit on a recent trip to the coast. It's a location just north of Florence on the way to Newport, and honestly if you blink you'll miss it. It's a small site, so it's a brief stop, but it's totally worth it because it is home to a remarkable carnivorous plant called the cobra lily (also known as Darlingtonia). While this plant may be rare, the view you'll get upon visiting will not give you that impression. A short pathway will lead you from the parking lot to an opening in the forest canopy where you will find hundreds (if not thousands) of cobra lilies growing in a marshy area.  Check out what Wikipedia has to say about it, and if you're ever in the area, definitely don't miss it.

Darlingtonia State Natural Site (18 acres) is a state park and botanical preserve located five miles (8 km) north of Florence, Oregon, United States on U.S. Route 101, just west of Mercer Lake and south of Sutton Lake that is dedicated to the preservation of a rare plant.
Darlingtonia californica is a carnivorous plant, commonly known as the cobra lily, which traps insects in its hollow tubular leaves, whose top is flared into a hollow dome with a forked "tongue" that gives the species its common name. In late spring, they bear purple and yellow flowers that rise above the green cobra-like leaves. Darlingtonia are found only in wet meadows and bogs with acid soils low in nitrogen. The rare, strangely-shaped plant is the only member of the pitcher plant family Sarraceniaceae in Oregon.
The park has a short loop trail through a peat bog area overlooking patches of Darlingtonia. It is the only Oregon state park dedicated to the protection of a single plant species.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Weekly Unrecommendations, Week 38: Writing Weekly Recommendations for a Year

This is both a recommendation and an un-recommendation. Committing to write weekly recommendations for a year without being able to see into the future (which no one can do, of course) is kind of gutsy and perhaps a bit crazy. I try very hard to be a man of my word, so if I say I'm going to write one recommendation a week for a year, you better believe that I intend to do it. The problem is that life gets in the way, filled with all kinds of activities and various other commitments, and following through with a commitment made without the ability to see future obstacles and interruptions is challenging. Another setback is that I did not enter into this yearlong commitment with 52 things in mind to recommend to the general populace. Instead, I started with a list of a dozen or so recommendations and figured that the rest of them would come with time, week by week. Personally, I think this is the best way to go about it, so I really have no issues with such a tactic. The trouble comes when I get super busy (as per usual), and it becomes difficult to come up with something to write about; and then, when I do eventually think of something, finding time to write about it becomes the trial. However, these are challenges I expected to face and was willing to accept. The reality is that I wanted to find something that would force me to write more. I love writing, but I just don't feel like I do it enough. Writing weekly recommendations is what I came up with to remedy the situation. So, now that I am 38 weeks into the process with only 14 weeks to go, I'm fairly certain that, come what may, I'll be able to fulfill this commitment despite the obstacles. However, I will not pretend that it's been easy or will be easy. Thus, the question becomes, would I recommend such a task to others? Yes and no. I have (despite everything) enjoyed it more than I have hated it, so if you're the kind of person who thinks they could enjoy such a thing, I say go for it. If not, I very highly un-recommend it.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Weekly Recommendations, Week 37: Shabazz Palaces

When I was a youngster, I developed an obsession for rap music. As I got older, I moved on to various other genres of music, yet I have never lost my love for hip hop. Digable Planets was one of my most favorite rap groups as a youngster. However, after two incredible albums in the early 1990's, they mysteriously disappeared, much to my dismay. Consider my surprise when I learned that Butterfly of Digable Planets (one of three members) had formed a new group, Shabazz Palaces, and not only had released a full length album along with a couple of EP's, but was also opening for My Morning Jacket on their tour through Boise, ID. Luckily, I was able to attend, and was blown away by how incredible Butterfly's new duo is. The Shabazz Palaces recordings are great for sure, but if you by some awesome chance get to see these guys live, prepare to be overwhelmed by their incredible-ness. Thus, I highly recommend any contact at all that you might have with Shabazz Palaces, but especially a live show.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Weekly Recommendations, Week 36: Seeing the Ocean

A trip to the coast to see the ocean is always highly recommended. Need I say more?

This is a photo taken during a recent trip. It's the Pacific Ocean taken in Shore Acres State Park in Oregon. Go there!