More information on white harbor porpoises

Ahh yes, as I sit here in Myoko fighting jetlag while watching giant snowflakes fall from the sky my thoughts drift back to… grad school and seabird surveys in the San Juans? Well, kind of, because I just got this paper from Arda Tonay and colleagues from Turkey. They compiled all the anomalously white harbor porpoise sightings across the planet, one of which (from August 2007) just happens to be the first record from the Pacific Ocean. It’s pretty cool to see my thesis and Keener et al. 2011 cited in this paper recently published in Hystrix, the Italian Journal of Mammalogy.

Metalmücil – “Go Home”

Well folks, here it is.  “Go Home” is the first album from Metalmücil, the loudest band in eastern Whatcom county!

Recorded over two days in April 2012 at Rogue Island Studios in Seattle and mixed/mastered by Eric Janko, this album represents my finest accomplishment to date.  Sure, there are a few little hiccups here and there but it represents the raw and rugged (and low-budget) sound that we were going for.  No Phil Spector overproduction, no indulgent string orchestration, just four guys (now three guys and one gal) with day jobs doing our best to be equal opportunity offenders. 

We’ll be playing a few shows in NW Washington from late Jan through mid-April, so don’t be afraid to check us out!  If you like what you hear or just want to support local music feel free to buy a song or 11. 

Metalmücil is:

guitar/vocals: Greg Bernier and Adam Ü

drums/vocals: Thomas Taylor

bass/vocals: Emily Hewitt (but Scott Peterson played on the album)


On December 21st 2012, Metalmücil played a show at Graham’s in Glacier to end the world.  Here’s our arrangement of the Tom Bloxton classic “Puffin” – written about a pretty-yet-mean species of seabird. 

In case you missed it you can catch us again at the Cabin Tavern in Bellingham on New Years!

Any given weekend around Glacier, WA

Somehow I managed to miss all the crappy weather that everyone was whining about earlier this summer. I’ve been home for about four weeks since early July and it’s rained approximately 10 minutes during that time. I’m guessing that daytime temps for Glacier have averaged in the mid 70s and peaked in the low 90s since I’ve been home. It’s been a perfect time to weed-whack the yard, build a fire pit, go for exploratory hikes and bikes, and drink beer in the sun. I’m kind of sad that I have to leave for AK in just over a day because the weather is showing no signs of being anything less than awesome anytime soon. Here are a few photos from the last few days from some of the recreation near my home.

The Yellow Aster trailhead is about 20 minutes from my house. Keep going up the road and you hit Twin Lakes. Some people are happy with peace, love, and trees. Others rock with Flying V guitars and Marshall full-stacks.


It’s wildflower season in the alpine.


Mt. Shuksan is not quite as snowy as she is in the wintertime but she’s pretty nonetheless. The ski area is on the right of the frame.


Crossing the last bit of snow before the final steps to the summit of Yellow Aster Butte.


On the summit of Yellow Aster Butte w/ Baker in the background. This was the first time I’ve repeated the first hike I did when I moved to Bellingham in Sept. 99. I’m wearing a Fu Manchu shirt because technical hiking outerwear has nothing on a cotton T representing one of the greatest bands in the world.


My friend Mike turned 40 this weekend and brought a keg of Rainier to the bottom of the DH bike trails to celebrate. The locals came out, shuttled DH trails, and partied. Notice all four of the vehicles in this part of the lot are sporting Metalmücil “Go Home” stickers. 542 pride.


My friend Dean dragged me away from yardwork this afternoon to go for a quick hike up Heliotrope Ridge on Mt. Baker. 20 minutes from my house and one hour from the car and we’re at the Coleman glacier. Not bad.


And that’s about it for this weekend. Hikes, bikes, and summits = check. Yardwork = check. Epic ragers = check.

Fear of the Dock

This is my first “solo” recording in quite a while. Metalmücil has been taking up most of my creative musical energy but after seeing Iron Maiden for the fourth time the other day (they still kill it after all these years) and having a bit of time on my hands I decided to get back in the studio and finish a project that’s been sitting on the back burner for a few years.

“Fear Of The Dock” is based on Iron Maiden’s “Fear of the Dark” from 1992. I wrote the lyrics back in 2008 after witnessing one too many yachter-yahoos crash into the docks in Friday and Roche Harbors. I figured there was no reason to try and reproduce the original arrangement so I came up with my own arrangement based on Garageband’s drum loop “Funky Latin Beat 14”. As with all other Bird Robot/Blood Plume recordings I play all guitars and bass as well as vocals.

Here’s a link to the original version so you know where I was coming from:

A Report from Saipan

June 15, 2012, Saipan, CNMI. We got a bit rained on in the morning and never ended up finding any whales, but we caught a couple of aku and I got to play my first game of Ultimate frisbee in four years. All in all it was a pretty good day; I’m sitting here in an air-conditioned house overlooking the pool with a beer at my side. Saipan may have economic troubles (you can read about some of them here… )but for the casual visitor like me it’s a tropical paradise. Just look at this photo I took the other day; the hotel on the beach houses a waterpark and the waters our front are a great place to snorkel, dive, fish, kiteboard, and do just about anything else you could want to do in crystal clear tropical waters. What’s not to like? The whole island is popular with tourists from all over Asia, especially Japan.

That being said, there’s a bit more going on in this photo. If you look closely you can see the wreckage of a Sherman tank in the lagoon. It just so happens that it ended up there exactly 68 years ago today during the opening stages of the Battle of Saipan, which lasted from June 15 to July 9, 1944. The hotel is located on Red Beach, where the 2nd and 4th Marine Divisions landed. The only thing “Red” about Red beach nowadays are the petals on the flame trees but I’m sure the scene wasn’t quite so tranquil back then.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this, if anywhere. I’ve been here before and swam out to the tank, visited the museums, walked the beaches, seen the suicide cliffs on the northern end of the island, read books about it, and even watched “Windtalkers” with Christian Slater and Nicolas Cage. I guess being here on the anniversary made me think about it again.

Red Beach today:


Red Beach 68 years ago today, courtesy of Wikipedia:


11/12 snow season recap

I’m writing this from a NOAA ship in the middle of the South Pacific ocean. We just left American Samoa en route to Hawaii via Palmyra Atoll. It sure was strange to wake up in a cold, dreary, rainy Bellingham and then a few flights later be in a warm, humid tropical paradise, but that’s how it goes sometimes. My freshly exposed skin is pretty excited to see the light; I can tell by the way it immediately turned bright red within seconds of meeting the equatorial sun.

So far the mammalian soup is as thin as expected, with only two sightings in the two days we’ve been out. Yesterday I caught a group of presumably spotted dolphins right at dusk and today I found a mixed group of spotters and striped dolphins hiding in the glare. Luckily there are enough Cook’s and Mottled petrels, Audobon’s, dark morph Wedge-tailed, and Sooty shearwaters, boobies, noddies, tropicbirds, and other feathery creatures to keep our eyes busy while we scan more charismatic megafauna.

Before I left I started going through all of my POV footage from the season. For various reasons I didn’t have very much to work with but today I was finally able to put together a little something that will at least give me a nice reminder of a fine season. Lots of high speed pow, a bit of meadow skipping, and the odd huge huck by Super Frenchie Matthias Giraud. Big thanks to Jean Remy Ceron of PVS for his non-POV footage. The first portion was taken in Japan with Grant Gunderson, K.C. Deane, Carston Oliver, and Johnny Collinson and the rest was taken at Mt. Baker.