Rudy Owens Videography

The doggie cam harness before there was a doggie cam harness

I made this video in 2013, a year before GoPro came out with its own line of harnesses designed especially for dogs. Other companies were already out of the gate, but all I had at the time was a human head harness. I enlisted the help of my neighbor and her best buddy and my good friend, Balloo. Balloo was a trooper and tolerated the indignity of a loose fitting harness. We got a few good shots playing catch. I saw both owner and Balloo again at Thanksgiving, and Balloo cried when he saw me. He is such a goooooood boy!

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Alberta Street, that oh-so popular place in NE Portland

A colleague I know who grew up in Portland described the Alberta Street of his youth as a place his mom told him not to visit. It was not that friendly. It was in an area that used to be defined by low-wage earning residents, clear social and crime problems, and inattention by the City of Portland. The story is a long one, involving the building of a nearby interstate, the demolition of  African American residences nearby, a great flood in 1948, and the emergence of the new Portland in the late 1990s.

Today the street is a local if not national darling of Portland’s vaunted urban revitalization. There are plenty of restaurants, small business, and cafes. I tried to go to a boulangerie last weekend, when I filmed this video, but it was packed. Northeast Portland also use to have a lot more African American residents. That is no longer the case. There remains plenty of buzz about this place. I say, take a look for yourself. Do not let the hype or even this video sway your mind. Decide for yourself. It is most defnitely a shining star of the Portland I know, as Portland would define things.

An evening with hundreds of onlookers at Seattle’s Kerry Park

On beautiful evenings, one should try to enjoy the moment and hopefully the outdoors, wherever you are. Here is the spot people love in Seattle, at Kerry Park, overlooking Elliott Bay and downtown.

Seattle’s 2014 Fremont Fair, getting ready for the solstice parade

The Fremont Fair is now an annual tradition in Seattle, made famous by nude bicyclists. No, I am not going to show photographs of nude bikers. If you want to see those, you can use Google images, and you can find plenty of them. Instead, I wanted to highlight a number of the groups who put on this show for free every year, including kids, dancers, and lots of really good horn players and drummers. It is not quite Carnival in Rio, but for this place, it is what the locals do to fly their exhibitionist and performing artists flags and welcome summer.

Getting around in Indonesia: trains, planes, bemos, buses, kecaks, and ferries

I posted this video online five years ago to highlight the often chaotic world of public transportation in Indonesia. As worried as I was about the large number of jet crashes and ferry sinkings there, the hazards of riding local public transportation gave me more concern. And, these concerns are well-justified.

Road injuries are ranked 10th of all contributors to the global burden of disease–more so in developing nations. In Indonesia, approximately 49,000 people die annually on the roads. Having seen in person several fatal road accidents there, usually involving small motorcycles and larger vehicles, I can say unequivocally that these are horrific ways to die. In fact, the United States Department of State offers this warning to would-be American visitors to my very much beloved Indonesia: “Air, ferry, and road accidents resulting in fatalities, injuries, and significant damage are common. … While all forms of transportation are ostensibly regulated in Indonesia, oversight is spotty, equipment tends to be less well maintained than that operated in the United States, amenities do not typically meet Western standards, and rescue/emergency response is notably lacking.”

However, it is cheap to move around. Train travel was super easy, as was hopping on a bus, or the smaller bemos. I just would not advise getting in a taxi late at night during the seasonal typhoons and have the driver then tell you that his headlights are not working, in broken English, as you navigate back roads in a city you know nothing about. Ah, the memories of travel. Priceless.

By all means, please do visit Indonesia, support the local businesses there with your money, and use a bit of common sense. Or your can stay at home, thinking you are safe and cozy, and never really understand how things work in places as dynamic and important as the largest Moslem-majority country in the entire world. For that is what corporate greenwashing campaigns like the Rainforest Alliance’s Follow the Frog want us to do: never ever leave home and never ever learn about the world first-hand. The choice is truly yours. I say, be curious, be friendly, and definitely be mobile.

See my picture gallery of Indonesia photos on my web site. (Ed. Note: I legally changed my name to Rudy Owens from Rudy Brueggemann after I had produced this film, so that is why you will see that name on the video.)

Last Sunday in May at the Seattle Center

The Northwest Folklife Festival takes over the Seattle Center every Memorial Day weekend. As a younger man, I used to gravitate to this like the music and culture lover that I always was and remain to this day. I think I got busier and the crowds got too large, and perhaps too many people appeared stoned and the number of smokers became too unmanageable. That is a story for another time, and it is complex. Anyway, the vibe totally changed. That is fine. For small doses, I still enjoy seeing the music, the dance, and the diversity of people who will turn out on a rainy day to support the arts.

The John Wayne Trail … it’s alright

Today I biked one of my favorite off-road trails, the John Wayne Trail. The trail itself runs 100 miles. The ride I normally do on the trail, from Rattlesnake Reservoir near North Bend, outside Seattle, to the old train tunnel at Snoqualmie Pass, is 36 glorious, smooth off-road miles and an excellent way to see some of the front range of the still snowy Cascades. Good for running and even horseback riding too. Yes indeed, it is very much alright!