20 January 2018

Folsom Dam, Near Sacramento CA, December 2017

A person of much ilk to our household visits his mom, who lives in an area outside Sacramento called Carmichael, every so often. During the great drought of 2013-2015, Folsom Lake, located about twenty-five miles northwest of the center of California's capital city, became something of a poster-child for the catastrophe. A flood-control reservoir built in a great, shallow, saucer-shaped valley, unlike the mountain reservoirs we Oregonians are so familiar with, its shoreline fluctuates with great alacrity to the most modest changes in pool depth, and it was less than half-full in 2015 when the most famous pictures of a nearly-dry lake were released, before the rains came back.

While our friend was visiting his mom in December, they drove past the dam itself. Bless him, he takes note of what fascinates me, and came back with pics.

Photo courtesy Our Eddie

Wikipedia has this to say about the dimensions of Folsom Dam ... it:
is a concrete gravity dam on the American River of Northern California in the United States, about 25 mi (40 km) northeast of Sacramento. The dam is 340 ft (100 m) high and 1,400 ft (430 m) long, flanked by earthen wing dams. It was completed in 1955, officially opening the following year.

Photo courtesy Our Eddie
In the current climate, the pool is about forty per cent of depth, water released by those who are in authority to do so in anticipation of whether there will be spring runoff from the mountains to the east of Sac'to. There's currently an argument about that, which will be settled if there is an expected access of spring runoff, and will create another argument if there isn't.

They also don't let you drive across the top of the dam any more, I'm told. Pity that.

We live in peculiar times.

Thanks to Our Eddie for the photos, which I now have in my stock library. Since I have not the time, money, nor resources to travel to places I want to go, I enjoy the hell out of the photos I do get from the people who were there. If you want to share them with me so I can blog about them, feel free to contact me.

16 January 2018

Patron Saints of Art: The Current Pantheon

The lapel of my rather-battered jacket tells a story, or at least I try to have it entertain all comers.

Right now, it's got merely five autos-da-fe. They are, as follows:

Saint Thomas Pynchon. The quitessential Great American Novelist, wrote towering books mapping the angst and banality of male American life of the 2nd half of the 20th century into a odd world that exists on the edge of reality but can still be plainly seen. It's in your face but it isn't really there; it's the glimpse of reality you get in the flash of a atomic explosion that dazzles your eyes then fades away.

Saint Patrick McGoohan. Individuality as freedom and prison all at the same time: six degrees of freedom is also six degrees of imprisonment. And we all have our reasons for wanting to break free, and maybe you believe them or maybe you don't. It takes a Village, as they say.

Saint Andrew Warhola. You might be the brightest star in the firmament, son, but your time will be oh, so, fleeting. You will then be absorbed into the MCP of pop culture, program ... but only if you do it right.

San Salvador Dali. He not only did art, he was art. Last, year, to settle a paternity case by someone claiming to be an heir, his body was exhumed. His mustache was as perfect as it was when he was interred. He not only has immortality through his art, he has immortality as his art. If he were alive, he would definitely approved.

Saint Jake Richmond. Tells the story of an outsider not of their own doing, does the hard work, every day, work of the hands head and heart. He's not the only web comicker I admire, but he is Portland's.

Last night, when going to werk, I got Olivia a drink at the Chevron station, she was parched and wasn't going to carry me much farther. The pump jock asked me about my buttons and I told him about my current patron saints and told him about The Prisoner and reading Pynchon and he thought that he might try some of that out.

"Are you a teacher," he asked?

"No," I said, "I just like smart shit."

And so it goes.

15 January 2018

Wy'east: Dark Sunshine

Another day of working overtime. Clouds moving in, there's a dusky darkness to the midmorning sky. I didn't think The Mountain would be out, but she was, and the dark cast to the light ... probably the same quality that the Grimm crew loved ... could not be ignored.

The iciness of the peak communicated very well this day. Behind me, a storm approached from the west.

The wind is always brisker Out 122nd Way, and it was hard keeping Olivia's door open without snapping shut on a leg or some other extremity.

But this was done.

13 January 2018

Drawings from the Andrew Loomis Self-Didactic School of Cartooning

One of the glories of Andrew Loomis's drawing books is they have cute little caricature heads that you can just sit down and draw in a few minutes, which is ideal if you want to just draw something today and don't have either the time, patience, or discipline to do it (or some proportional combination of the three factors).

I've demonstrated this in another post. But in order to actually just open a sketchbook and make marks, which is the habit I'm trying to instil right now, I'm choosing a little sketchy cartoon head and drawing it down.

The above is the second one I did. Below is the first. Drawings in graphite on shattered and deferred dreams.

I have a little bit of drawing aptitude, but, seriously, Loomis asks the aspiring artist to draw a rough circle, smoosh some lumps on it, embolden the lines that matter, et voila!, you really do have a cartoon head.

Right now, it's just old bald white guys with mustaches and smoking cigars and pipes, but I'm looking to expand from there.

But it's really not difficult. If you have no experience or developed aptitude, it just takes me a little shorter than it'd take you. The one thing one really has to get over is the feeling that if you aren't following exact instructions, it's not valid, also, the misguided idea that you have to finish with an accomplished drawing. Those aren't finished, polished, or particularly accomplished, but the are drawings and they do communicate. And they're in my sketchbook, which is where I get to make mistakes.

My wife already knows this lesson. She's working on developing a little character for single-panel gags she'd like to do. She's got sheets covered with this little guy and the more she does, the more she does more. And she's having kick-ass fun with it, and, of the two of us, I'm the one who's acknowledged as the aspiring artist. She just kicks out the jams and does it.

If there's not a lesson to be had in there, I don't know where us dithering artists-in-process can find one that's worth anything.

We are our own worst enemies, sometimes.

09 January 2018

Throwback Pictures: Silverton, Oregon 2009

Back in the winter of 2009 me and The Wife™passed through my old birthplace of Silverton. Just this last weekend I imported a bunch of photos dating from when I started playing with a digital camera, the legendary ViviCam 3705 ... the Plastic Fantastic ... and I stumbled on some of those wonderful pics.

Here are two of them. I'll post some now and again.

The view here is on the corner of North Water St and Oak St, on the doorstep of the legendary Palace Theater, where I saw 2001 and Planet of the Apes and Westworld and so many other beloved films when they first came out. Not one of those businesses that were current when I was but a neat thing are there now except for that insurance business down the street there, a block, on the corner of East Man and South Water.

Still, it doesn't look too different from when I was a kid. At least, not if you don't look too closely.

This is exactly one block east of the last shot, and looking kinda the same direction. That is the 100 block of North 1st Street, and Oak Street is still in our foreground. At one time there was Norma Branstetter's flower shop (which is now over where Park Street t's into North Water) then it was a beauty shop. Could be anything now, I suppose. The charcoal-blue building on the far right was a furniture store when I was young. Doggonned if I know what it is now, though.

But it still looks more or less the same. There's at timelessness to Silverton which endures despite its modern arrival at Quirky Little Oregon Town-ville.

07 January 2018

Playing With The Panic Sign At SW 11th and Burnside

I think I've written about the Panic Sign ... the logo of the software developer Panic here in Portland, at the top corner of the building at the southwest corner of SW 11th Avenue and W Burnside St here in Portland ... before, but since I got a nifty little low-price, high-capability tablet computer for Christmas, which I'm enjoying with great gusto, I've made playing with the Panic Sign a bit more of a sacrament during weekly Book Church.

It's visible from the Coffee Room in Powell's Burnside, which has big windows opening onto the NE corner of the intersection. All you have to do is load the URL http://sign.panic.com, choose one color from the top row to fill the top/left side of the logo, one color from the bottom row to fill the bottom/right side, and touch the Change The Sign! button below to commit the change. When you do it from a table in the Coffee Room, you can see the change as close to instantly as makes no difference.

The colors in the interface are actually a little less vivid than those out on the sign, but you get the idea near enough.

The text on the page saith thus:
Founded in Portland in 1997, it took Panic 15 years to get a sign. We want it to be Portland’s sign, too. Come down to SW 11th & Burnside at night, and go on, change our colors!
It really is just that simple. We can relate. We too love Portland enough that we want to leave our mark on it in some way, in a good way (despite how problematical that seems to be becoming, Hail Eris). And since I have so much fun doing it, we are hereby declaring it an official sacrament of #BookChurchPDX. And anyone anywhere can do it, you just have to be down at SW 11th and West Burnside to see he (I'd suggest a webcam for this, Panic, how about it? As for us, Here we sit and load our page; we can do no other.

03 January 2018

Adobe Sunrise, 122nd and Stark

It was at SE 122nd and Stark where I caught this, the undersides of clouds looking like red sandstone cliffs.

A wider angle showing off the deepness of the sky. The row of cars in the foreground are the new cars on the lot at Ron Tonkin Toyota.

The skies have almost been disturbingly exquisite lately. 

And a closeup. There are photos I've always thought of as 'album cover' photos; the kind you might find on a musical group's album as the cover design. This would be one of those. Naturalistic, but zoomed in enough that the loss of the greater context confers a level of abstraction upon it.

The texture of the clouds is, of course, entrancing. I can't stop looking.

Wy'east, Red Sunrise, January 1st

The atmosphere in these photos seems to take its cue from the chaotic nature of society. Unless it doesn't; nature is, while not unaffected by what we do, indifferent to what's exactly going on. But with a sky like this, it's sometimes fancifully believable to follow that the turmoil we project out introduces chaos into our environment.

The reality is undoubtedly most prosaic.

Maybe it's the time of year but the rising sun has been doing this trick where it's very red near the horizon and reflecting against the underside of the clouds, giving the impression of a solid ceiling.

The solid feeling of spatial definition gives me the oddest feeling of calm.

The real show here was the luminous area off to Wy'east's right, where the sun was going to come up. It's on its way back north now, and will be behind the mountain again by mid-February.

The attraction in the above framing is the streamer of cloud that straggles off to the left of Wy'east. It seems to start in front of the foothills and winds behind them, being blocked off on the left of frame by the shoulder of Larch Mountain there.

02 January 2018

At Last, The 2018 SJKPDX Portland Photo Calendar!

I took a year's hiatus on this while other things concerned and tried to consume me. Well, this will be an art year, and what a better way to start than by re-debuting an idea that The Wife™ and many friends blandishments pushed me to in 2015.

The Portland 2018 calendar is a collection of 13 (one page has two images) photographs from my multi-year collection of snapping things in the areas around town what I live in. This is what home looks like to me, and they are chosen and curated with the same loving eye and passion that just existing in Portland does for me.

I truly love my hometown. I've never felt right anywhere else, and I hope the love I have for Portland, and the cosmic fortune I feel in being able to call myself native Oregonian, shows in my street-level perspectives.

Also! Two of the photos were taken of the Cascadian Eclipse of 2017, down in Woodburn. So you can see what I saw in a singular event of a lifetime.

The price is $12.99 before you get to shipping, and if you'll wonder why you should buy a 2018 Calendar 1 month into the new year, then understand that you also get January 2019, because I believe if you're paying for a calendar you should at least get 12 honest-to-goodness months out of it!

If you love Portland (or love the idea of touring Portland), my calendar will give you a fresh scenic take ... not the same re-used photos over and over again, like so many other scenic Portland calendars you'll see. Unique as its photographer, it's the Portland calendar for your wall.

Buy, and buy often!

26 December 2017

Ice On The Mountain, Ice On 122nd, and Calendar news (at last!)

What a heavy last few days, 'ey, Oregonians? I grew up liking snow and ice, and you didn't see that so often, and a white Christmas was something you saw on the TV here in the Willamette Valley, not the typical Oregon winter which was wet, gray, damp, and chill.

It it just me, or has there been more of this the last few years or so? Two white Christmases out of four? It used to be one white Christmas out of ten, at the upper end.

Climate change much?


The sun behind the high, thin currus and further muted by the cirrostratus brought a calm blue to the face of Wy'east.

The world is a glacier and the blue of the mountain makes valley and volcano of a piece almost.

A very cold piece.

The Rossi's field sparkled with glittering ice. Ice also fell from overhead wires on 122nd as I was about to drive under them.

If 122nd looked like some Alaskan Way, as in the above, then it was even worse two nights ago, when someone caused a multi-car slideout and decapitated a fireplug just a little north of this at the I-84 exit.

Now, for some calendar news.

One of the reasons I don't plan hard is that things come out of the woodwork to thwart all but the most basic of my plans. I have come very near to a state of completion of my 2018 photo calendar, and plan on putting it on sale via Lulu.com, starting this coming weekend.

Stay tuned. Watch this space.

24 December 2017

New Fountain Pens: Preppy Platinum and KaWeCo PERKEO

A couple of pen acquisitions worth noting.

Despite using a Cross Classic Century for the majority of my handwriting I still pine for great fountain pens. For a long time, until Muse Art & Design closed, I used the Preppy Platinum. This, despite its name, is an affordable, well-made fountain pen for all; it is made of recycled materials ad available in two or three point sizes (I preferred 0.3 mm).

When Muse closed the only local brick'n'mortar art-store source I knew of of Preppy cartridges went with it, so I put up my Preppy for the time being. I'm happy to record here that Artist & Craftsman Supply, the national chain of widely-separated, funky, quirky, employee-owned art supply stores, has started stocking Preppy refills in its location on SE 21st just south of Powell Blvd.

Despite being a unit of a national chain, A&C has charmed us and the service there is very personal. As a matter of fact, after seeing they had Preppy but not the refills we put in a suggestion and a couple of weeks later they called us personally and told us that they were stocking them now, so we are duly impressed. Well-done, A&C!

The other pen was gotten from a little upscale-ish stationery shop at 3325 SE Division St called Little Otsu. The brand KaWeCo is from Germany, and the pen model is called the PERKEO. It's a thick-barrelled clipless fountain pen made in a more traditional style, and, unlike the Preppy Platinum, it accepts the standard international ink cartridge.

Top, Preppy Platinum 0.2 nib; Bottom, KaWeCo PERKEO "Old Chambray" style

The PERKEO is sold in four color schemes. The off-white and blue scheme I have is called "Old Chambray"; they have a scheme that has a black barrel and a pastel-ish, cherry red cap that is called "Bad Taste". There's a complete review of the PERKEO at the Pen Addict blog down this rabbit hole which is written by someone who loves pens more than I do which is possibly unhealthy but probably is actually really awesome and goes into much detail on it.

Left, Preppy point; right, PERKEO point

A close look at the two nibs gives an idea of where the two companies are coming from. Preppy's is unadorned, simple, down-to-business; KaWeCo's PERKEO demonstrates an attention to style and form one would expect from a German brand name whose legacy dates to 1883, even in a basic entry-level model.

I expect much handwriting satisfaction.

Drawing Scott McCloud at the Multnomah County Library

So, yesterday, I drew comics scholar Scott McCloud at the Multnomah County Library.

Yeah! Totally! He totally came by and sat for me, and this is totally what he looks like in real life:

I mean, it would be cool to be able to say that, but obviously not. But I was able to take my ballpoint out and dash this down (using is visage on the cover of Understanding Comics as a model, naturlich), and that was a satisfying thing.

Also satisfying: this picture on the right here. Working from a cue in a book titled The Confident Creative, I wanted to make some marks and fill a sketchbook page, I didn't have a subject, didn't have an idea, just started drawing lines. It became an exercise in trying to use those lines to create a suggestion of volume and space, and it succeeded somewhat. I had two arms snaking off and merging into the background, a ceiling up top, and, on the bottom, kind of a shelf going into something resembling a waterfall.

All drawings are ballpoint or liquid ball ink on crushed and deferred dreams.

23 December 2017

Aspiring Portland Artist Defines Talent With This One Weird Trick

Now, we've all, successful as well as aspiring artists, have wondered what defines talent. It's been a search that has captivated and consumed the lives of artists and those who talk about what they do for ages of humankind.

Well, I found the magic bean, you people. Here it is:

... and to think, all we had to do was look at the top-left corner of page 22 of the Walter T. Foster art book, The Beginner's Guide to Art Materials and Terms Used  by Dixi Hall, which was published in 19-something-or-other in Tustin, California.

It really is a delightful book, published in that big-folio style that all the other WTF books were, only it's just a big glossary and compendium of art terms, like brush terms, mediums, grounds, supports ... but sadly, nothing to define other art terms like which drugs to get addicted to to get which results and where to go to rehab.

Nothing's perfect, I guess. But a classic is a classic nonetheless.

17 December 2017

Powell Villa Ace Is the Place for Doohickies

We have fun whenever we visit the Powell Villa Ace Hardware. They're good people and easy with the wit, and they're SF fans besides, as we learned when we found out they had a Federation registry number of NCC-9187. You've got to be pretty logical to rate that.

We went back for some thingamajigs and some doohickies today. The thingamajigs they had to order special, but as to the doohickies?

The doochickies were on aisle 20.

As Spock is my witness I did not photoshop this.

The Oregon Convention Center At Night

Before Portland came all stylish and popular and such, and condo silos started sprouting like an invasive species, one of the premier skyline signatures of Portland and perhaps the most memorable was the Oregon Convention Center. Its twin glass spires were as nothing ever seen before in the skyline of the Rose City. It was kind of our Syndey Opera House.

Now, believe it or don't, it has so much competition that it's just another interesting signal lost in a ton of architectural noise, but it still knows how to put on a show. Here, from earlier tonight, is the edifice lit with an indigo-blue light, which looks vibrant here but in person had a quality that doesn't quite make it to the photograph:

The photograph doesn't do full justice to the reality, but the blue in it is kind of otherworldly still. Seein in the distance between the towers is downtown Portland: the tower closest to the right-hand spire is the Wells Fargo Center, and the one smack in the middle is the KOIN Center. Some lights from Marquam Hill, where OHSU is, can also be seen to the right of that.

The construction site on the other side of NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd between the POV and the OCC is the site of the so-called "Headquarters Hotel", which is going to be a high-rise, so we're about to lose this view, too.

Get down there while you can, troops.

15 December 2017

Administrivium: Reconciling the numbers

So, I just discovered a thing. My blog entry serial numbering is off by 44.

I take, as many things in my life, a laissez faire attitude toward organization. I've had this blog for an awufully long time. And today, while doing some house cleaning, it finally dawned on me that the total of 3544 included 44 drafts that not only weren't published, but at zero characters, clearly, were never going to be.

I love serial-numbering my posts. My diary is the same way. And, over the course of more than 3,500 individual posts is not that many, but I am obsessive enough over this to want that to be on point.

So, for the next 43 entries, there will be a '/A' affix to the serial number, to represent the posts of the overlap. Because I am not, and I repeat not, going to go over all 3500 posts to see where I went wrong.

That's the way it is.

Old Parkrose: Adam's Market, NE 111th and Sandy

One more thing to share today. Adjacent to the lot that contained the Carolina Motel is a lot that holds a little commercial strip building. In any other part of Portland this might hold some artisanal boutique or something. Here, it's much more Old Portland, and much more prosiac.

There's a corner quick-shop, a coin-op laundry (which has pinball, vintage video games and wood paneling straight outta the 1970s) and a little beauty parlor (just out of shot on the left).

It's forlorn in the morning light, kind of shabby but absolutely clean and trim and tidy. Not a spot of trash in the lot. And Adam's Market, open and ready for business. It's the quiet time at 111th and Sandy, though; not a customer in the place.

But this sign? I love this sign.

Adding FISHING BAIT to the mix on the sign? That elevates its game from Old Portland AF to Oregon AF.

Lost Portland: The Carolina Motel, Parkrose, Sandy Blvd

Today I stopped by the corner of NE 112th and Sandy Blvd in Parkrose.

For those who don't know, Parkrose is a neighborhood of northeast Portland, centered more or less on NE 102nd Avenue and Sandy Blvd. That intersection pretty much anchors the west end of 'downtown' Parkrose, and it stretches just about a mile east, to NE 122nd Avenue and Sandy. The more redoubtable and historically commerical buildings are all between about 102nd and 110th.

There are also a number of shabby motels which nonetheless are trim and neatly kept but which bear names which kind of poke existential fun at themslves: There's a "Courtesy Motel" and a "Prestige Motel", and you know how every town has a "Nordic Motel"? Ours is along the commercial strip in Parkrose.

Of course this was the point at which US 30, the Columbia River Highway, entered Portland back in the day; for a good portion of the 20th Century, Parkrose was pretty much Portland's NE corner. And, at the gateway to town, there were the roadside motels. Travellers stayed there, and people moving to town; I'm no judge of people, but if the zeitgeist is any clue, some people aren't travelling so far any more, and the places some travel to are just a little darker than they used to be.

In 2014, Google Street View showed 11144 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland, Oregon, to look like this:

Sometime during the last year, the property obviously sold. This is what it looks like now.

The neat, trim cottages are gone, leaving a lot so meagrely sized you'll find yourself wondering how any motel could have possibly fit there.

The sign still standing, offering DAILY RATES, CABLE TV HBO SHO, and the rustic amenity of the DD PHONES adds a real touch of surreality to the scene. The fence around, meant to keep Those Who Needn't Be Here off has been breached. I did not take advantage of the freedom of entry.

An additional touch of culture amidst the ruins is positively spooky: Note that the topiary, even after most of a year, is still disturbingly on fleek.

Men At Work: Portland Edition

Yesterday morning I went down to the OSU Food Innovation Center to do a taste test. It was burger patties. Rated two samples, each about a quarter of a small patty, and since my taste buds had been sharpened by coming directly off work and not having anything since The Wife™'s lovingly-calibrated snack she sent me off to work with, it was like this tiny feast.

They were both superb. One a little more superb than the other, but it's hard to put me off when it comes to hamburgers.

The OSU FIC is on NW Naito Parkway (or "Front Avenue", if you have the memory) just north of the Broadway Bridge, just south of the NW 9th Avenue signal, wedged between the street and the rail tracks going northward out of town toward Seattle. Immediately across the tracks from us, there's yet another building of some sort going up (don't ask me, I can't keep up anymore), and there were workers on it, and beyond that, a 15-story condo silo called The Pinnacle (presumably to differentiate it from other pinnacles in the area, and my, haven't a lot of them sprung up in that area in the last decade?). And, after I got my bits'o'burger and collected my $30, I went out to the lobby and my love was chatting with another woman who was there, and then she pointed out the window and had me look at the men at work there.

I pointed and shot. Cameras are like the best thing ever any more. At least we have that workin' for us. Which is nice.

The building in the foreground (don't ask me, I only live here) has four men on those pillars: the two on the left have orange shirts, the two on the right, yellow shirts.

The building beyond, The Pinnacle, has four guys cleaning the windows (truth be told, one or more may be women. I had no chance to go up and ask). One of the window washers is on the balcony between the two glass faces. Here's a closer look at them:

What I wasn't able to capture at the moment was the farthestmost-right one, he was having himself (or herself) an enjoyable time swinging back and forth.

Well, that's just the sort of thing someone enjoying that sort of thing would enjoy, I guess. They go up there so you don't have to.

13 December 2017

Wy'east: The Spear of Light

I try to tell myself I'll be happy with just a longing glance as I drive uphill on Big 122.

I try. Truly I do.

But I'm smitten. Nay, addicted. Whatever. There's no treatment for this, and that's fine, just fine. It's put the mark on me. I'll take it.

Wy'east on the horizon and the sky over Rossi Farms this morning. Yes, I know I'm starting to fall a little too in love with bumping the color, but I can't stop myself. I mean, it looks delicious, don't it?

Of particular interest today, other than the contrails, is the spike of light that's visible just there, on the right side of the scene. Do you see it? It looks like a ghostly streak, going straight up, perpendicular to the horizon, kind of like "zodiacal light", except this isn't at night, and I don't think it's along the line of the ecliptic. At least, I don't think so.

It's just right of the farthest right tall tree there. Looks like a vertical smear.

Here's a closeup, which is a noble and beautiful sky-and-cloud picture unto itself.

I imagine it has something to do with ice crystals in the air and the sunrise, because right at the base of that spike, as we arrive in the general vicinity of the Winter Solstice, is where the sun itself came up not too much later.

12 December 2017

Abysinnia, Vera Katz

Vera Katz, Portland's mayor from 1992-2005, died this week. She was 84 years old and since retiring from government, she had been battling cancer. She eventually succumbed to that cancer, but if you consider how long it's been since she left the Portland mayoralty that she had and, indeed, since about 2000, been fighting some form of cancer (breast, that first time), you have some idea of how much fight there was in the woman.

She had firsts: First woman speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives (1985), first woman mayor of Portland (and possibly the only local politician  who could possibly follow Bud Clark's act) and a good deal of the reason why the City Club of Portland is no longer a men's room.

A bronze statue of her sits on the Eastbank Esplanade, which is named in her honor. It sits right at see-level, that one could walk right up to it. No ceremonial plinth for her; she wouldn't have that. She took TriMet to work. She was Portland that way. She had courage, as when she stood in Tom McCall Waterfront Park with President Clinton during the '96 floods, which were threatening to overtop the Seawall; she was visionary in that Portland way too, dreaming of capping I-405 (a dream that, as of yet, has not come true).

A friend on Facebook, Tim James, did a splendid caricature of her, and it's wonderfully fitting: that smile really did kind of light up the place. It disarmed one no matter what one thought of her.

Vera Katz. Caricature by Tim James, used with permission.

Abysinnia, Vera. She was a character, and that character was Portland.
Oh, yes ... Tim James' website, http://www.timoworld.com/, is full of his inimitable art and redoubtable wit. Give it a visit.

NE 122nd Avenue, North and South

There is, just about twenty-five feet north of the intersection of NE 122nd Avenue and Sacramento Street, a pedestrian overpass.

Big 122 is wide. And there isn't a crossing signal north of NE San Rafael* St (which is the 2000 block north of Burnside) until the light at the onramp to I-84 eastbound, which is just south of NE Fremont St, which is close enough to three-fourths of a mile as to make no difference. So a pedestrian overpass is a necessity there.

Originally I was hoping to get an alternative viewpoint for future photos of Wy'east. No success there; too many trees to the east and southeast.

Eventually, Agent Cooper, one takes them for granted. It's the Cascadian way.

Speaking of ways, by the way, anyway: I didn't get a new look at Wy'east, but I did get a cool viewpoint just to peep the best street in the world.

This is NE 122nd Avenue looking north:

Big traffic-friendly swath straight-arrowing its way through a suburban residential district. And all those trees!

That yellow VW? Yep. Olivia.

The zoom-in is interesting as such:

Those hills in the near-distance, beyond the brownish tree groves that seem to be at the bottom of the dell beyond the brow of the hill are in Vancouver, Washington. That's how close another land is to me. I literally spend every living moment I can within the city boundary of Portland, but adventure for me is only a bridge-crossing away.

That traffic signal in the distance is at the onramp to I-84 eastbound. A curious creature that: That's the only eastbound exit/return between the I-205 mixup and 181st. Going westward, there's no street-level access from I-84 from 181st until the Hollywood district, an off-ramp at 42nd Avenue. That's a long way to go in a major city without a way off the freeway, folks.

The dim hills in the far distance are even more Washington than that, and the rosy color is, of course, from the destruction of Seattle by aliens. Or it could be the sunrise. Go with what promises more adventure.

This is Big 122 looking south from the Sacramento St Ped Overpass:

It's actually a little more commercial than you'd thing from this angle; the fringe of the neighborhood hides the ECR recycling yard (behind that tall tree there, you can see the low wall providing a visual barrier there going away from it), and the NE 122nd WinCo is visible behind tree (it's the cream-colored wall with the dark stripe). Some details are more visible in closeup:

You can glimpse the WinCo sign there on the right. That first signal there is NE San Rafael* St: there's a Taco Bell on that corner, and a Shari's just down the street fram that. The very next light beyond that is NE Halsey St; on the right hand side there an ARCO-AM/PM station's sign peeks out. Just behind that, and out of sight due to the angle, is Courtesy Ford, which was Marv Tonkin Ford back in the day; across from that, Russom's Nissan of Portland, which was once a Ron Tonkin dealership.

If there ever was a royal family of Big 122, I guess it would be the Tonkins.

And this is life one cold morning on the doorstep of winter in Oregon, Out 122nd Way.

* In Portland, "San Rafael" is pronounced "san-ruff-EL", not "san-raf-AY-el", as you'd expect. That's just Portland for you.

11 December 2017

DavidDoulglaslandia's Favorite Son

Oregon's Junior Senator, Jeff Merkley, is a person in whom I find much to admire and inspire. He's "Bedrock" through and through, and as long as we have him as part of Oregon's congressional delegation, I feel as though there's still a significant chance that things will stop going the wrong way and go the right way again.

From 1998 to 2008, he was State Representative from District 47, the area in which I live; in 2008, he became our junior US Senator. Doing good work, all the way.

But, something I shouldn't have been surprised at, I found out when we attended this hears David Douglas Holiday Bazaar, where we load up on home-crafted artisanal soap for the year, in the gallery of past student body presidents:

Jeff Merkely was DDHS student body president in 1974 because of course he was.

DavidDouglaslandia grows some notable people. As noted in another entry, some time ago, this 'dude' was also student body president.

You may have seen him in a movie or two.

I do wonder if Jeff thought, when he was student body president in '74, if it would end up with him on the floor of the US Senate during one of the most remarkable times of modern American history.

Me and The Wife™ are actually come-latelys to Douglasland. But we couldn't be happier here. Best part of Portland by far.

10 December 2017

One Way In Which Oregon Is Different From California

Here's one from the Dept of Hometown Pride Dept, seen in a cold and wet shopping center parking lot sometime last week:

Even though the thought behind this is rather nuanced (and the graphic approach both simple and sophisticated), please ELO's "Down Home Town", please and thank you.

How We Found Out Dan Rather Was In Town

We found out Dan Rather was at Powell's Books last night.

He's a very popular guy, apparently.

Bob Schieffer was not there. He did not file this report.
Sightings of Scott Pelley in the Red Room are unconfirmed as of press time, though I did get to browse my beloved Aisle 320 by about 8:15 PM, so it wasn't a total loss. Unlike other celebs, though, Dan apparently went out through another entry, so I was unable to get a picture.

And that's the way it was.

SDCC: All Your Comic Con™ Are Belong To Us

A tale from the branding and trademark war: Forbes magazine is reporting that, in a rights battle between the organizers of what was up until now called the Salt Lake City Comic Con and the juggernaut-of-them-all, San Diego Comic Con International, the side that cast themselves as the David in the all-too-inevitable David v. Goliath interpretation, the SLC group, lost in its contention that the term comic con was one that was a generic description of a convention-style (at least as this legal layman understands it) event celebrating comics (and in the SDCC case, just about every corner of pop culture).

A fairly close reading of the article suggests that however one might feel about the battle, the SLC organizers show signs of being the wrong partisans. For example, the article cites a finding in which two of the organizers voted themselves a six-figure bonus even as they were crowdfunding their legal defense; if someone was going to release a zig for great justice, this may not have been the ideal one, even with a barnstorming prosecution via the court of public opinion. Meanwhile, SDCC seemed to have a solid case on their side and proved infringement in court.

As a result, many fan events calling themselves 'comic cons' may find themselves having to negotiate agreements with SDCC International just to use the term, this case having established a precedent. Since IANAL, I imagine there's a lot of context that may come to bear, but the article also mentions a few top-echelon Comic Cons that have worked out licensing agreements with SDCC, Emerald City ComicCon and our own local Rose City Comic Con. There are also many ways to title an event: the current-on-hiatus indie fest Linework NW and a few small micro-cons offer examples of this and how it can avoid what is now a court-adjudicated trademark issue.

It's kind of like the dark side of the idea of trademarks and service marks, and I can't help it: proving one has the rights to a generic-sounding trademark like "Comic Con" feels a little like trademarking the phrase "I Love You" (which I remember happening during my lifetime), or "air" as "something to breathe." In the context of first-magnitude events, it attains a certain level of reasonableness, somehow, however.

This definitely puts a new wrinkle into the idea of crafting an identity and personality for media-centered fan events going forward. The ripples from this one will probably be spreading out for a while.

09 December 2017

LooWit: Mount St Helens In The Sunrise

Leaving work about two days ago I saw the same sort of sunrises we've been enjoying lately giving great color to the sides of the truncated cone of Loowit:

Still I remember when it wasn't lopped off like that. Snow is now heavy on the mountainsides, and the long rays of the winter sun gave that great color.

But in this ... extreme closeup ...

... I bumped the color.

Yep. That's me. Color bumper. If color bumping is wrong, I don't wanna be right.