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TheRagens Newsletter
January 1, 2003

Happy New Year!

The holidays are over and a new year has begun. We have decided to try writing an occasional newsletter in order that people who visit our website may want to get some updates by email rather than bookmarking in order to return. We'll generally publish information that is related to the contents of our website; over time, we'll probably develop our own voice for the contents. This newsletter will be published infrequently -- the schedule will depend on when we have published enough new content on our website to be interesting AND when we have time to work on it. At this time, I'm guessing that we'll start bi-monthly and see if we can keep this going.


In This Issue

bulletNew Wildlife Photos
bulletBookmarks - Booklists
bulletWine Tasting
bulletSites worth visiting


New Wildlife Photos

Last summer, I posted an incredible sequence of a bald eagle leaping into flight -- but we posted it as four separate photos. Over the holidays, I finally had time to figure out how to work with layers in Photoshop Elements and create a single picture such that each picture is in exact relationship to its point in time. The three pictures of the eagle in flight are separated by 1/4 of a second.

I also looked closer at some of the pictures from last summer that I archived and I uncovered a great picture of a group of six orcas just in front of a fog bank that would have covered them up. Check out some of our new pictures.

bulletBald eagle flight series
bulletBald eagle fly-by
bulletFour-point buck, in profile
bulletHeron on the point
bulletOrca whale group in formation



The three major book awards have been announced in November for the best mountain climbing and outdoor books of the year. This timing is really convenient; not only do all the books get listed within 1-2 weeks of each other but they are also just in time for the holidays. Anyway, we've updated our lists of the winners and the finalists in order to keep our pages current with the best books of the genre. Check out some of the books from this year's awards; there are some remarkable stories that made the winner's circle.

bullet Banff Mountain Book Awards
bulletBoardman Tasker Memorial Award
bullet National Outdoor Book Awards

The only major award that has yet to be given out is the Literary Award from the American Alpine Club. This award, which is made to a writer for the body of their work, is usually made in the late winter or even spring of the year. Check back to see if they issue it this year.

Featured Book

Conquistadors of the Useless: From the Alps to Annapurna; Lionel Terray
Lionel Terray's autobiography is a fascinating survey describing his evolution from rebellious schoolchild looking for an avenue to channel his energies by learning to climb in the Alps all the way through his epic expeditions to the Himalayas (including his version of the first ascent of Annapurna), the Andes, and Mt. Huntington in Alaska. The only drawback to this book is that I felt that it was hampered initially by the translation. However, by the time I was partway through the book, I was able to overlook the odd colloquialisms and stay focused on Terray's love of climbing as he pushed his limits every year.


Wine Tasting

In November, our wine tasting group held the most recent tasting event -- this time, we worked our way through a group of South American red wines. This is a region that most of us were fairly unfamiliar with. Although overall, we were disappointed with what we found, two of the wines -- both Malbecs from Argentina -- stood above the others.

bulletBen Marco, 1999. Port-like, very concentrated with good balance; some notes of blackberries.
bulletBodega San Pedro de Yacochuya, 1999. Very dark purple, almost black in color. Full-flavored with notes of plums.

After several years of thinking about having a backyard vineyard, I've decided that this is the year in which we will actually establish one. I've been following a number of discussions from the Puget Sound Wine Grower's Association in order to get educated on the best choice of varietals given the climate we have to work with. I've reserved about four dozen cuttings from several pinot clones and we'll see what happens when we plant them -- for lack of anything better, until we find a better name, we'll call this little urban vineyard experiment 'Sunstroke Cellars' which represents both the insanity that has seized me to start this as well as what happens to Western Washington dwellers when we see the sun. There is some work that we'll have to do in the next few months to get the backyard ready.


Websites Worth Visiting

Puget Sound Wine Grower's Association. Learn more about the wineries and vineyards in the western half of Washington State.

Wine Enthusiast. The Wine Enthusiast website is a great source of wine accessories for everyone from casual wine drinkers to the wine dork from down the street who has everything.

Tong Family Blog. This site, run by Rich Tong, is fascinating to check out. I used to work with Rich at Microsoft. I thought that our site was maybe over the top but Rich adds something new almost every day.


2003 Index Newsletter Index
bulletJanuary 2003
bulletMarch 2003
bulletMay 2003
bulletJuly 2003
bulletSeptember 2003
bulletNovember 2003


About TheRagens is a family website that highlights our family history in addition to wildlife and nature photos, wine tasting notes, book lists (with a focus on mountain climbing) and other interests of ours. We are happy to share our interests with you and you may pass on this newsletter to friends as long as you make no changes to the content. If you are receiving this newsletter from a friend, you may sign up to receive it by visiting our registration page. If you wish to be removed from the distribution list, simply reply to this message and replace the words in the subject line with REMOVE. We keep an index of our back issues on our site.

Thank you!


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