30 September 2004

[us_politics] Last Take On The Debate

Is it just me, or was Lehrer feeding the President his answers on the last questions?

Holy Moly.

"I think what we saw here was the training wheels coming off the President's campaign"-Mike Malloy, Air America Radio

[us_politics] Debate Halftime Report

Quick takes:

Kerry: knowledgeable. Quick. In command of facts. Thinks fast on feet.

Bush: Repeats things. Stammers. Embarrassing. Bewildered.

It's upstairs on the tube on ABC and downstairs on Air America KPOJ 620.

There. Now I'm a part of history. Yes.

Just checked over on ABCNEWS's website. Posts are going up fast'n'furious. My favorite states that with Bush it's like debating Gollum, and you expect him to start rubbing his hands together and going my precioussss.

[pcc_life] Got It Together At Last

The different things I was trying to accomplish at PCC have been accomplished. The biggest thing was getting that evening section of Life Drawing that I was trying to get. When I walked into CT231 and asked for the instructor, who should I find but the instructor from my Watercolor class much earlier that day.

I presented him a blue slip, and he signed it forthwith.

I like Mark Richardson Smith. He's a good fella.

Anyhow, we got right to work doing gestural studies. I came severley unequipped; I did have a bigass pad of newsprint but all I had to draw with was mechanical pencils (HB, true, but .5 and .7 mm leads) which is somewhat inappropriate for the media. Never mind. I just got to work.

Gestural drawing is a marvelous thing. It's loose and fluid, and since you're not trying to augur in the details, surprisingly apt at communciating the emotional impact of something. If you work a gestural sketch long enough it will more and more resemble what you're trying to portray. But it's a fluid, of the moment thing that forces you to look and really see what you're trying to depict.

Strangely, "drawing what you see" means so much more that you think. People don't genrally look to see things as they are. This is not a criticism really, this is a talent that the average Joe or Jane doesn't really need to walk down the street, buy a latte, step onto a TriMet, what have you.

Or is it? How much more expressive and exciting in the simple ways would life be if we looked at things like the artist does?

This is another thing that learning design has given me.

That and, apparently, the power to digress into territory unknown.

[pdx_life] The View From Johnston Ridge

The USFS, courtesy of the Mt Saint Helens National Volcano Monument, has thoughtfully provided a linkable volcano-cam image and page so that we all can get a look at what's going on up there.

I've included it in the Links columm. It's down there on the right. Click on the image to get a full size image (updated, they say, every five minutes), and click on the caption to get to the Monument's web site.

Your tax dollars at work.

The current status seems to be tremors of Richter 2-3 every fifteen seconds or so. The effect of this is that the quakes in the crater, to an observer who who's daft enough to still be in there, never actually cease.

Note also that the image is not available 100% of the time. Factors such as demand and whether or not the host is responding will enable or prevent its display. If you don't see it, wait a few minutes and reload.

29 September 2004

[pcc_life] All This And Parking Too

There has sprung a chance that I can get into the section of ART237 (Life Drawing) that I want to. There is one seat open in the section MW 1800-2050, if BanWeb is to be believed.

Even though it will be a colossal waste of time if I got up there just to find it a figment of someone's imagination, it's worth a go. If I do get in, my schedule will fall in place just where it needs to. Which would be worth the trip, although I'll suddenly have something to do until 21:00.

Ah, well. It'll make it that much easier to get over to Chan's Steakery. I'll need a cuba libre or four by that time.

Parking is just what one would expect it to be for this time in the term. That is to say, a philosophical concept akin to things like hyperspace and cold fusion. Eventually a space opens up but it's you-wouldn't-make-it-in-the-jungle-boy competition until that time.

And I'd like to get the arsehole-parker-of-the-week award to a pudding-for-bRaNeS driver who had a white Saturn who parked next to my '72 VW Beetle. Since I am just a damned good driver they will never know how close they came to getting a orange-red crease down their starboard side because they very nearly parked crosswise the Beetles backside. As it was I think I was a fraction of an inch away from giving them a real good scratch.

Imbeciles.

[pdx_life] Volcano DefCon 3

Today as I was rushing back home from school, a nice freeway drive from the lower left corner of town to the center right side, a nice (and somewhat overworked-sounding) lady pre-empted Dr Laura's tearing down of someone on KEX for a special report.

The word is apparently that they are now of the opinon that magma is on the move in Old Saint Helens and that some sort of explosive event is imminent. It is now a Level 2 Volcano Advisory (the scale being 0=All Normal, 1=Something could happen, 2=We think something's gonna happen, 3=We're sure something's about to happen). Since that's the third position on the zero to three list, I call it Volcano DefCon 3.

Not that I could have gotten a snap of it if it had happened. As it occurred, today was a typical Oregon September day. Cloudy. Still is.

[pdx_life] Boom Might Be Soon

Just heard off the radio: the USGS scientists are still certain that the recent rumble bumble at Mount Saint Helens aren't a result of magma movement, but they note the rumbling is increasing.

So they're saying it may be an ash and steam explosion imminent, due to water seeping into the lava dome.

And they way they're saying it, you'd think that maybe it's coming today.

Watch the skies!

[us_politics] Debatetopia

On the eve of the first scrimmage in the Battle for the Airwaves, I found remarkable something I found whilst just-so-happeening-to-read Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves To Death.

I've always felt that the modern penchant for Presidental-campaign debates was founded on the example of the Lincoln-Douglas debates. We actually have a modern version of this paradigm.

The Lincoln-Douglas debates occurred, of course, in a time before there was a true mass media. Lectures in those days were very popular and very big business, and people flocked to them.

Moreso for the debates. The format wasn't rapid-fire, question-answer-rebuttal. Typical format was: One party gave a position, in a speech lasting an hour and a half. The answer to that was an hour long speech, and the first party was allowed an addition half hour to respond.

That's three hours of political entertainment.

But before that it was even longer. Postman relates a story of how Lincoln and Douglas were in debate before the historic seven-event series that we're all taught about in school. In this case, Douglas lectured for three hours, and when it was Lincoln's turn to take the podium, he mentioned that, since it was 5 p.m., it would perhaps be a better idea for the event to adjourn for dinner so that the audience would return rerfreshed and relaxed for his own answer of similar magnitude.

It would seem that there was a similar attitude of circus. Souvenirs and trinkets were hawked, small side shows were apparently staged, and alcohol was available.

Compare and contrast between now and then. See how far we've come?

28 September 2004

[pcc_life] My Advisor, Pounding The Beat

As I was wending my way through the various things I'd tasked myself with today, I came upon my advisor, Cece Cutsforth, doing guide duty in front of the PCC Bookstore.

Cece is amazing. I hold this woman in total awe. She's a great instructor and has the amazing property of driving her point home even when she's giving a less than glowing critique. From her I learned that there really is such a thing as constructive criticism. In graphic design, we call it critiquing and it's worth its weight in gold.

Whatever success I have as a designer will be due in no small part to this small woman. I do, as a matter of fact, worship the ground she walks upon.

[blog_life] Web Bowser Blues

So, I just downloaded Netscape 7.2 to attempt to answer problems generated at the PCC WebCT page for my Dreamweaver class. It did not address that (it appears to be a platform-independent sort of thing), but I did find out that it displays quicker and better than everything I'm using so far. Including Safari, which pains me.

Farinstentce. Take my links section. I don't know if anyone else sees them, but there's a Electoral-vote.com link/graphic, and a link/graphic for the Gematriculator's goodness/evil rating of my site. I couldn't seem them in Safari or MSIE.

73% good...seems just about right.

[pcc_life] Sudden School Tectonic Shifts

I attended the first session of ART 117, Basic Design 3 today.

Whoa.

Here's what's up about that. At Portland Community College, there is a three-course sequence in Basic Design. ART 115, BD1, is designing in black and white, learning things like contrast, value, and such. I enjoyed that course; I find that real triumph comes in learning how to operate in limited spaces or within a restricted canon. If anyone ever goes into the cafeteria at PCC Sylvania College Center, you'll see a large wall hanging which is a scaled-up representation of an M.C. Escher. It was done by several design students independently, each given a section of the drawing.

I did the one in the middle, four rows down.

ART 116, BD2, is the same thing, only using color. I don't recall too much from that, though I did get a lot of experience in working gouache.

This year, I'm backfilling requirements I didn't hit earlier. ART 117 was a natural choice.

I had no idea what I was getting into.

117's title is "three-dimensional design". That means things like sculpture, building stuff, a lot of technical things I have no time or patience or lack skill for. The first project, due in just two weeks time, is a bit of 'wearable' art, themed for the political season.

Actually, I don't have a problem with politically-themed stuff. And the instructor, to her credit, wasn't expecting everyone to be all pro-Kerry, anti-Bush (altho I don't have a problem with that, either). The point was to express yourself politically regardless of your leaning and become a part of history during the parade the class would have when the 'costumes' were done.

Yes. Here I have this overcommitted life, still working forty-a-week at The Company Who Must Not Be Named, and now I have to construct something with chicken-wire and papier-mache in two weeks? AND have a political theme to it?

Oh, gosh. Well, I guess my head a splode.

So, I went right back to myPCC and did what I should have done all along, sign up for ART237 Life Drawing. I thought that drawing nekkid people would freak me out, but not as much as having to be "brilliant" and "magical" on demand. Sure, the only section still open that would work is a six-hour weekly session on Fridays, which makes Fridays one helluvalongday, with ten hours at TCWMNBN followed by one hour to get my butt up to school, but now I do have Tuesdays clear to make up for it. It seemed an even trade, all things considered.

I already carry this house's full income on my back. Please. I love my schooling, but I need just one course I can phone it in on.

[pdx_life] Scoping The Volcano

All the rage on the news is the increase in activity inside what remains of Mount St. Helens. I'm hardly the first or last person to comment on this.

What I am doing is making sure the ViviCam 3705 and some extra batteries go out with me whenever I am out.

The latest reports say that the rumbling may actually be the fault of the recent rainstorms, filtering into the lava dome and causing stress leading to fracturing leading to rumbling. This is backed up by a expedition to the dome subsequent to the news of activity. No outgassing, which would be indicative of magma on the move, was found. But they still have thier eyes out for it.

In 1980, I 18 years old and living in Salem. Even though St Helens could be seen on a clearish day (and there still were those, back in the '80s) I don't remember seeing anything of it. I guess we were too glued to the tube, getting the really good shots. Shoulda looked out the window. There was even a light dusting of ash down my way one or two times.

This time, if something happens, I'm gonna get a photo. You bet.

[zeitgeist] The Lineup #3



Dashiell Hammett

Jim Francesconi

Cece Cutsforth

The One True b!x

KJ Ivor

S. Renee Mitchell

Atrios

Michael Whelan

"Adam"

John Wichman

27 September 2004

[pdx_scenes] Fremont Bridge At Night



The Fremont Bridge, From the corner of NW 14th Avenue and Savier Street, at 0438 local time today.

[blog_life] Shout Out To Linkers!

I discovered, as I'm sure many do when they start blogging, that they are being traded over on blogshares.com.

Well, I am, but it's not like I'm a growth stock. You can have me for B$0.83/share. I'm cheap.

Anyway, blogshares is a good way to find out who's linking to you. People will link to you for whatever reason and not always tell you. I found out I have two linkers who have entertaining blogs that are cool and fun to read and make me think.

One is pontifications:snippets from a homopoliticogeek, which is an example of one of the more interesting neologisms I've seen lately.

The other is Clever Title Goes Here. Deep, thoughtful, yet delightful.

I recommend them as reading, of course.

Rock-rock on, guys!

26 September 2004

[blog_life] I'm Back In Portland

Well, thanks to Paul Bausch at ORblogs, I am aright in the world. Correctly located as to latitude, longitude, and city. I am fine.

Can you believe that ORblogs is a free service?

They rock and rule.

[sundial_life] Introducing DJ The Wife[tm]

Good news from my The Wife[tm]. After a sufficient period of sincere ingratiation, she may have scored a gig as a DJ. Well, a Karaoke Jock (KJ) actually.

There's a particularly good one, KJ Ivor, at Chan's Steakery on SE Main in Downtown Milwaukie, which is one of my new happy places. He told her that an opening has come up at another karaoke bar and he apparently recommended her.

I'll post details after I know it's a sure thing. But if this is lucrative enough that means I can give up maybe 8 hours per week at The Spice Mines, and that should be enough to keep me sane.

I love going to school for GD. But I sure am tired of being tired. And being tired of being tired. Just once I'd like to rest on my laurels. Just a little.

Crossing my finners, now.

(BTW:Find Chan's Steakery at 10477 SE Main St, in Milwaukie. That's just one block off McLoughlin Blvd, and you can see the Steakery from McLoughlin. Cozy lounge with typical loungey vinyl chairs, little lounge tables, and they serve the full restaurant menu in the bar)

[design] Skoolzin!

As of tomorrow, I'll be back in classes as PCC Sylvania. Since I still have to spend 40 hours per week in The Spice Mines, it'll be the end of days off for a little while.

This term:Watercolor (ART284), Basic Design (ART117), Dreamweaver (CAS111D). I can only do three classes at the most per term at this point, but I'm on a program which will create me as a graduate with an AA in GD by the middle of 2005.

I got plenty drunk on cuba libres over at the Tik Tok on Friday night; I should be ready to go. Another $668 (not counting books) down the tubes. But going into school this year with one issue of the Columbia Overlook under my belt is making me feel kinda okay.

24 September 2004

[sundial_life] SunDial Noir

Now The Wife[tm] has moved laterally from Westerns into hard-boiled Detectives. I think it was the Royal Crown Revue CDs that did it, but I can't say for absolute.

Suffice it to say that the hard-boiled detective genre is a kissing cousin-maybe even an incestuous sister-to the Western genre, at least as expressed by Hollywood and television of the day (late '50's, early '60's). I've already mentioned how Peter Gunn and Have Gun, Will Travel ran head on into each other and left a pile of charming shrapnel called Shotgun Slade. They seem to have the same attractions; hard edged, sometimes characaturish, men and women who didn't compromise and played for keeps. Peter Gunn established the ideal, and the best detective shows have come closest to that ideal; Mannix and The Rockford Files spring immediately to mind as direct descendants of the Mancini-themed one.

If you cared for good old-fashioned courtroom procedure, stop by the courtroom and take a seat in the gallery, and watch Perry Mason define how to get your defense on.

But my point, and I do have one, is that the two genres share simple (not necessarily simplistic) stories of good guys and bad guys, strong men and women. When all are adorned in full black and white, they acquire an otherworldliness. Sort of life, the way it wasn't, but should have been.

It is rather enjoyable, actually. Good thing, too, because the Westerns were getting just a teensy bit old. I will, however always put down what I'm doing to spend a half-hour with Paladin.

Somewhere along the way, though, we ran across Humphrey Bogart. I'm not a complete naif when it comes to Bogey, I've seen Casablanca at least once (as every red-blooded American should). I've now seen The Maltese Falcon twice, and Key Largo, Across The Pacific, Passage To Marseilles, and To Have And Have Not. Now I, like many, have an understanding about why Bogey was great. He just seemed to grasp every character and make it his own, and believeable. In Passage to Marseilles, he played a Frenchman but did not affect a French accent like his co-actors, but you believed he was a Free Frenchman (the ending still has an emotional punch that remains through the years).

Late I can now say I am a Bogart fan, at least I can appreciate his work. True acting carries you away as it entertains you, and makes you experience sides of your own self that you may not have known were there. Bogart did that.

Lauren Bacall fairly smoldered. I can't put that any other way. Of course Bogart fell for that dame. I'd of married her dog just to get in the family!

Additionally The Wife[tm] has read Hammett and Chandler, and is rereading her collection of Leslie Charteris The Saint paperbacks. We also found several Saint adventures filmed in the '30s and '40s, starring two different actors. They were amusing, but I wouldn't recommend them unless one was really interested in seeing some pre-Roger Moore Simon Templar (and to me, Moore will always be The Saint).

So help me, she's talking about looking into be a P.I.. Well, again, to be honest. But that'd be a kick-in-the-ass, I think. The Wife[tm[, P.I.. A more remarkable seamus there never has been.

In the meantime, she's trying her hand at writing Noirish stories set in the wide-open Portland of the forties. This should be good.

[us_news] Target:Florida

Mom Nature sure seems to have the great state of Florida in her sights, doesn't she?

Hits from three hurricanes, a possible hit from a fourth. The rain does fall on the just and the unjust alike.

And just to add wierd to the mix, Ivan came ashore, doubled back, ran along the Gulf Coast as a restrengthend tropical storm, then moseyed ashore into east Texas. Is now a "depression". Which is what most of Florida is feeling right now.

All we have are the occaisional windstorm, 'quake, and volcano. I feel blessed.

23 September 2004

[blog_life] I'm not in Happy Valley

I have affliated myself with ORblogs (orblogs.com). They have a good service, they knit a community out of Oregon Bloggers, who have to be a good bunch, regardless of thier leanings because, well, hey, they're Oregonians.

That's a special thing.

But the geo-software of ORblogs think I'm closer to the city of Happy Valley than anything else.

Now, I live near Mall 205. If it's going to make a mistake, you'd think it would be Gresham, but there you go.

For the record, I do not live in Happy Valley. Nossir.

I don't really have anything against Happy Valley.

Oh, wait. Yes, I do.

But that's for another program.

22 September 2004

[or_crime] The Morris and Weaver Show

Well, it's all fall down this week. A few days ago, Edward Morris plead guilty to killing his family in the Tillamook State Forest, and just today, Ward "The Weav" Weaver copped to killing Miranda and Ashley.

Thus the question of how The Trials Of The Century will play out has been rendered moot. Your tax dollars at work.

I think we ought to sue them both for reimbursing the government for the little side show generated by the psychotic little games they liked to be playing. Punitive damages should be assessed to The Weav for shaving his head that one time. The reporter (Anna Song was it?) is no doubt still having nightmares about that.

[blog_life] The Enigma That Is BlogPatrol

Some time ago, I placed BlogPatrol code in my blog. It's over there on the right, just below the "I Power Blogger" graphic. I really am just curious if anyone's visiting (they are, but not very fast, which is OK for now). Though me just checking out the look accounts for a great many of the clicks, I do get some referrals.

Some of them are just downright strange. The weirdest thing is that many of the single-referrers don't actually seem to contain a reference to my blog at all. Take the Kids Wrestling Association, for example. Putting aside the spectre of a sort of little-dude's Fight Club (except that you can talk about it) put together by a few 9-11 year olds (true story-read the profile) in a little town in southwestern Oklahoma where this obviously is about the only thing they have to do, comparing the blogs, content-to-content, I can't even begin to picture the wormhole that somehow connected us.

I've had a few people Google me who are German speakers, and that's kind of flattering. I'm sorry if I've disappointed them as the only things German about my website are my heritage and 1/3 of the title (zehn katzen means ten cats). I could rename it Die Zehnkatzenzeiten but that would be wicked, and huge bother besides.

And, looking at the Google search info, I got a hit or two on "potter against francesconi", which is kind of cool, but the real puzzling thing is that I seem to be a way station on the route for people looking for info on Victor Boc. Eight of the last ten search pings had ol'Vic somewhere in the string.

He must owe people an awful lot of money.

Of course, knowing my feelings about Victor Boc, this is high irony.

21 September 2004

[design] My Work Is Enroute

Well, as of last Saturday night, the Columbia Overlook's digital files now exist as an upload to the ftp server of Oregon Lithoprint.

Due to two large 300 d.p.i. images, my ZIP file was 36.9 Mb in size. Took about three and a half blessed (and I mean that sincerely; no hangups or callthroughs) hours of upload on 56K (effectively 28K) dialup. My printer contact told me I can down-res them to 200 d.p.i. Must do that and see how much smaller the files get.

I've also pointed my friends and 'quaintances in the Yahoo! graphic design group over there. I've critiqued several; now it's thier turn. Fair's fair.

Even though it was volunteer, it was real-world experience, and the real payment is in working with a team to produce something, and having a portfolio piece.

I'm really looking forward to the next go-round.

[pdx_airwaves] Victor Boc Resurfaces, KXL Status

Found this on http://www.victorboc.com:
Victor will be hosting the Lars Larson Radio Show
periodically. Check back here for specific times.

Ai yi yi. What a perfect fit. Now you can find the two most annoying voices in radio today on the same station.

Now that's customer service.

In other news I see Alan Colmes is getting a program on KXL. That's not all; they're running him from 01:00 to 03:00 (that's one in the morning to three in the morning for you non-24hr types).

Apparently they've seen that 620 KPOJ (Air America) is kicking thier backsides in the ratings. Well, two hours starting at oh-dark-thirty of Sean Hannity's whipping boy ought to bring them back.

It's painful to watch, really. Bill Gallagher, they need you back. Bad.

19 September 2004

[pop_culture] What's The First Letter of the Pirate Alphabet?

I refuse to participate in Talk Like A Pirate day.

As anyone who knows me really well knows, The Wife[tm] and I pretty much talk like pirates all the time. I go to work and blog to get a break from it.

So I'm not going along.

By the way, I still have issues from when I refused to wear green to school on Saint Patrick's day.

Don't push me. I'm on the verge, I'm telling you.

[zeitgeist] The Lineup #2



Paul Linnman

Barney Keep

Dick Che Nee

Tom Potter

Pete Abrams

The Marquam Bridge

The Fremont Bridge

Jean-Michel Jarré

Keeeton the Cat

The Outfield

16 September 2004

...I Finally Have Gmail, Read down for the SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT

In celebration of my 100th post, which, by Blogger's count, was about 4 posts ago, I am pleased to announce that I am now amongst the Invited. My life is now complete, except for that I don't have the Maltese Falcon yet. But I'm still looking for it.

It came to me after I quit actively looking for it; life's ironic, found my The Wife[tm] that way. Following up to a post I found on fellow ORblogger Foobario Frobnitzil's (a/k/a Michael) site wither in the light

AND NOW THE SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT

Foobario saieth he hath (in hith wordth) "like a dozen more to give away". To get your chance at a free gmail invite, clicky yourself hence:

wither in the light;even more gmail. Post a follow up to this. And give his website a read and give him some love in the form of warm fuzzy comments. I fancy my readership of ten or twelve people are polite and intelligent, so remember to keep up appearances.

(The author notes his visitor counter at 191 at the time of this post. hmmm, hmmmm....)

The Best View of Downtown Portland...



...is from a car hurtling northbound on Interstate 5, on the top deck of the Marquam Bridge. Actually, the best views of central Portland proper are eyes left as you are going counterclockwise on the I-5/I-405 loop circling the Portland City Center, including an extremely inspirational view of the Fremont Bridge (my favorite bridge of any kind, not including suspension spans).

The catch is, of course, you have to be on your toes if you're going to be taking in the view. You're in freeway traffic (The Wife[tm] was piloting my mobile platform. Best if you get a friend to drive whilst you look, then get off at the Rose Quarter exit and swap, get back on the freeway. It's really gorgeous at night, but I haven't found a way to stop and get a photo yet...there is no emergency shoulder to speak of on that bridge.

15 September 2004

A Naked Politically Motivated Post

Either this behavior isn't okay, or accountability really has become unAmerican:

Clicky.

I'm serious. All of us are expected to own up for our errors and if we've been sloppy about our work we can expect to lose our jobs. I don't feel the Bush Administration has done thier jobs acceptably. I truly feel we're being lied to about whatever they feel they have to lie to us about so that they can get away with whatever they are doing. Furthermore, I feel the merest mistruth that the Republicans issue is much more heinous than the greatest lie any Democrat has ever told me.

It makes me mad, because they beg for my vote and then treat me with contempt.

I would remind people that when the Spanish people voted thier bums out, it wasn't to "appease the terrorists". It was because they were angry, that they were lied to by thier own government.

Please. no President Ahhnold.

Just heard over the radio: a California Republican introduced a Consititutional amendment to allow foreign-born nationals to become President.

As it stands, the Consititution absolutely requires that anyone who stands for election to President must be American-naturally-born-citizen. I'm not necessarily against naturalized citizens becoming President, but it really wasn't an issue until California got a Glamour-boy for a Governor.

Maybe they see him as the next Reagan. With an Austrian accent? Ai yi yi.

And, for the record, I am a Germanophile. Look at my last name! Good old fashioned German descent, baby!

But that's what I've come to expect from a party that sees the Constitution as a two-hundred-and-twenty-eight year old bit of toilet paper.

The New Apple Security Update Looks Sound

They posted Security Update 2004-09-07 via Software Update. I like waiting for a week or so, let the bleeding-edge updaters get thier paws on it. Avoided a lot of pain last year when Apple actually had to pull a security update because of all the problems it had (it made the news). The next several updates were good to go. This last one generated complaints of FTP not working, and other things, so I waited.

Just now saw that they have a version 1.1 on that Security update and the feedback from users is looking a lot more positive. I'll give it a few days and bring it on in.

There's a lesson here, kids; no need to break your neck to get that security update (unless you're a Windows user, in which case you are debatably better off even if the update does have problems). Let the early adopters pound the bugs out of it for you. You don't seem to get bonus points for being the first out of the box.

And, before you update, think: is my setup working fine now? If it is and there are no problems, it's usually profitable to hesitate until we can see which fan the waste material is going to hit. With OS X, anyway, you aren't any worse off, and with all the viruses coded to kill Windows (stlll no known OS X viruses (I mean real stuff, not proof of concept or macro 'viruses')), you're pretty safe running OS X.

14 September 2004

An Oregon 9/11 Tribute



Every year from 11.Sep to 31.Dec, spotlights are fired up through our own Twin Towers - the crystal spires of the Oregon Convention Center - as a memorial to the more than 3,000 people, Americans and otherwise, who were minding thier own business and threatening nobody, and who died on 11.Sep.01.

Wind Storms Here and There

Another benefit of living in the upper left corner of the lower forty-eight is being able to watch things like Hurricane Ivan from well afar. There is a certain suspense in watching where the forecasters think it's going to go next.

Of course, it's nowhere near the level of suspense that people down in Dixie must feel. And they have it better than before; for some reason, I can't help but think back to the time before there were satellites, and forecasters had to guess at what was coming thier way. Just like many terrible, destructive things in nature, hurricanes are quite beautiful. From orbit, they are lyrical pinwheels. The eye wall, from inside the eye, is a thing of majesty.

Here in the Willamette Valley, we just have windstorms. They get nasty to compensate for thier infrequency. Some like to call them hurricanes, and technically they are mostly correct; the National Weather Serivice defines hurricane force as 73 mph and above, no matter what storm they come out of. A particular historic one was the "Columbus Day Storm" of 1963, where winds above hurricane force were recorded up and down the valley. Just about every adult of my parent's generation has a story, and can tell you where they were and what they were doing during it. That's how big the event was.

Back in about 1998 or 1999, I think it was, we had our own version. Video of the day on channels 2, 6, and 8 were trees falling into houses.

It is possible to tell if if an approaching storm is going to be an Oregonized hurricane. Low pressure centers usually approach Oregon from the west or northwest. They spend thier fury against the Coast Range and then move across the Valley, dropping the rest on the Valley floor before giving up most of the rest of thier stuff as snow on the Cascades. It's most of the reason that the eastern 2/3rds of Oregon is as dry as it is. Sometimes, however, a particularly strong low moves from the south, paralleling the coast. It stays connected to its power source (the Ocean), and seems to use the south-to-north lay of the Valley to intensify its force.

But, like I said, it doesn't happen often. Like major earthquakes, they make up for thier absence with what amounts to thier presence.

And our hopes and prayers go out to the people about to be impacted by Ivan. It's not going to be pretty, especially if the point of impact is New Orleans. That city, protected by its levees, is actually below sea level. According to reports on Yahoo! News, if NO does sustain a direct hit, the city could be made uninhabitable for weeks, while the levees actually trap water inside the city to a depth of 20 feet, making the whole thing all but a ruin.

Late Night at the Tik Tok

One of the kool-b33nz things about our new 'hood is the Tik Tok.

Officially the sign proclaims "TIK TOK Around the Clock Restaurant and Bar". It's on the NW corner of the intersection of SE Division Street and 112th Avenue. It's a old-guard sort of place; greasy-spoon diner food, good stuff like taco salads and Reuben sandwiches and burgers and big breakfasts for not a lot of cash.

The bar is separated from the restaurant only by a chest-high divider; architecturally speaking, it's not really separated at all. There's a U-shaped bar, and the "back" bar is contained in wire cages hanging from the ceiling. Along one wall are video-poker machines. Pretty standard Oregon tavern stuff, but it's all the more special because it's ours now, it's in our back yard, our home, we, the Heavy Eastsiders.

The bartender was a lovely gal. One of the regulars won about $40 playing video poker; The Wife[tm] called out Drinks on you?!?!?, he said yes, and I got another Cuba Libre. She had a Scotch and soda and a shot of Canadian Mist. The Westerns and the film Noirs are having thier effect on her.

Anyway, the Tik Tok is a fine thing. We went in there with our Powell's purchases (about $100 worth of Graphic Design reference books for me, a heap of heraldry and Raymond Chandler for her [we didn't intend to spend all that on books, it just happened {too many brackets!!!!!}]), had our meal, then larked over to the bar.

It's amazing what drink will do. People you never saw before in your life become your friends.

But that's the pulse of life in an Oregon tavern. I don't think there's taverns like it anywhere else in the world.

12 September 2004

The Lineup #1


Pariah S. Burke

Steve Winwood

Gregg Clapper

Bill Gallagher

Sam Adams

Randi Rhodes

John Wichman

Alycia Woolbright

Nick Gonzalez-Bush

Jeff Lynne

POP Mail Haiku

POP Mail server, won't
Accept my pass. Remember
In keychain? No, no.

Digital Photography

I love my digital camera. It's a Vivitar VivCam 3705, kind of basic, but has 3.3 MPx resolution. It has saved my bacon a couple of times, not unnotably in getting pix for the Overlook, and has more than paid for itself in terms of $$ saved on purchasing stock.

One of my favorite things to try to do is get photos of downtown Portland from the top deck of the Marquam Bridge. This is where I-5 vaults the Willamette in its mad dash for Vancouver, and is about the best view (angle and elevation) that can be had.

The problem? The freeway is four lanes wide across that bridge and fast, and there is no place whatsoever to pull over. I tried simply pointing the camera out the drivers side window in the VW whilst driving over the bridge but that's kind of out of the question, not the least because of the divided attention. Can't aim effectively, run the risk of major injury. A few days ago me and The Wife[tm] tried it in the Subaru, but it'd gotten too dark by then, and the .avi's the camera made were dark and moody. Which wasn't what I wanted.

But in all, it's fun. It's not hard to carry around, I can make picture after picture, it's ready for import into Photoshop without scanning, and with a 256K SD card, I can pretty much snap all day, at least as long as I can keep batteries in the thing. It's a major energy hog, as any camera owner will tell you.

10 September 2004

Veer!

Last post for the day. A graphic design source firm called Veer, which sends out delightful and sassy little catalogs, has a periodic competition called Lightboxing. Taking the title-fight metaphor and invite two designers to do battle in the squared circle. Provided with a 'lightbox' of six items-typically few images and a font or two-the two designers craft a piece out of them. Adding a little Iron Chef in, they have to design to a theme. One, for instance, was country music.

The whole result is whimsical, energetic, fun, delightful, and inspriring.

www.veer.com/ideas/lightboxing. Go there!

It's All Over, But For The Kerning

I'm this close to putting my first issue of the Columbia Group Sierra Club's newsletter, Columbia Overlook, to bed. All the information's in there, revisions made, extras put in. There are two 'advert' style ads that I supplied the photos for.

This is a golden moment. I really don't think I've ever created a work product that I'm actually fond of. Then, I've never tried to make my way in a field where a creative eye and mind are pluses.

I thought that I'd have a lot of gabbing to do about it. But I don't.

There is this moment, preserved in amber.

09 September 2004

White Men Can't Speak, part 1

President George W Bush, Poplar Bluff, MO, Monday, 6 Sept 2004:
"We've got an issue in America. Too many good docs are getting out of business. Too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country."
Er-emm. Well, all I can say is, if The Wife[tm]'s gynecologizer ever practices his love on her, I'd better bloody well be informed.

Vice President Dick Che Nee, Des Moines IA, Tuesday 7 Sept 2004:
"It's absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on Nov. 2, we make the right choice, because if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we'll get hit again and we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States."
Egad.

Sam Presents the QuarkXPress Comedy Hour

Background: In this post, Pariah Burke details the latest large publication family to move away from QuarkXPress in favor of InDesign. It's no less than all the BBC publications group.

In and of itself, it won't put Quark out of business. But it is another important sign of how Quark once-formidable installed user base is continuing to erode. Whilst I don't have numbers, the BBC obviously serves a large and diverse audience comprising a great deal, if not most, of the magazine-buying public the United Kingdom. While it doesn't sound the death knell for Quark worldwide it does no favors to Quark's long-term viablility and reputation.

The most compelling impression I came away from Pariah's post and commentary and the original article was one of absolute denial on the part of Quark UK. It boggled me. It seems to me that, if you as a company have lost a big and important client after being considered for years to be the industry standard that nobody would ever move away from, and you don't at least acknowledge that you have a problem, then you've got problems. But this fellow wasn't just minimizing the loss, he was denying that there was a burgeoning trend to move to InDesign, a trend borne out by increasing numbers for ID and decreasing ones for Quark. The man's so far into denial that I fear he'll never find his way out.

For some reason, I found this hilarious, if in a deep, dark, quiet way. So, inspiration hit me right there, and on Pariah's blog, I left the following:

GRADUAL DARKENING OF SKY NOT AN INDICATION OF IMPENDING NIGHT, SAY SPOKESMEN FOR SUN

Following comments by members of the human race at large that the Sun is going down, soon to be replaced by a phenomenon many are terming ‘evening’, spokesmen for the Sun announced that this in no way indicates a trend toward night.

Speaking for the Sun, Solar communications director Bob Photon credited the Moon and Stars with impressive gains but asserted the Sun’s dominance.

“We think that the Moon and her associates have come up with different and attractive options for various parts of the diurnum”, said Photon, “but our record of dominance in the daily cycle is clear. Unquestionably the concept of ‘night’ will appeal to many people and may be right for some. We wish the Moon well.”

Additionally Photon added that while the Moon is more than three billion years old and a very important member of the Solar System, the Sun is the senior member of the Solar System, with at least five hundred million more years of reliable service and a daylight standards program second to none.

In response, the Moon rose later that night.

Corporate Info:
Sol, (NYSE:BIGYELLOW), also known as the Sun, is a G4 star in the Main Sequence, and has been the pivotal member of the Solar System for 4.3 bn years. Through it’s Gravity Well associate program it maintains branch offices on Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, Pluto, Charon, and Planet X. It’s Asteroid Belt affiliate program provides orbits for hundreds of thousands of smaller bodies, comets, and planetoids.

The Moon (NYSE:SPACE1999) has been Earth’s singularly remarkable satellite for over three billion years, provides for ecosystemic stabilization through it’s innovative Tidal protocol, and renowned artistic entertainment via its P.H.A.S.E.S. program.


And, to round out the evening's absurdities, I am eating a palmful of a new variety of Pringle's Potato Things, Pringles "Prints", Trivial Pursuit Junior edition. It's really astounding. These Pringles have dead-simple TP questions printed in what appears to be Comic Sans MS, in green. Increasing your knowledge whilst one gets even fatter! Magic!

07 September 2004

Meanwhile Back at the War

I heard on the radio just now that we have passed 1000 soldiers dead in Iraq.

No other commentary. I think that one should stand alone.

...now I Want a Gmail Invite

What is it about Gmail invites?

You can't get one, you have to be in the right place at the right time. And this is a free Web mail service. Moreover it's reputation is not uncheckered, with privacy concerns (Google is apparently not completely assuring people that it won't archive your email indefinitely and give it to whoever asks for it). Also, the contextual-ad thing is just a little creepy.

So, why do I want one? I don't like people looking over my shoulder that way, and I don't break the law, and I resent "The Man" looking over my shoulder trying to catch me breaking the law when I have no intention to do so (I feel that red-light cameras at intersections are wrong because they turn everyone into suspects even if they never do anything wrong, but that's another program).

But I still want a Gmail invite. Maybe it's the buzz.

Who was it who said "You can't fight fashion"?

Something to think about.

PS:This posting is not specifically to fish for an invite, but if anyone sends one my way, I very well may use it. If I don't I'll be certain to pass it on. (How dearly ambvialent, hey?)

06 September 2004

Reasons the Republican National Convention was Horrid

Zell Miller
The man is evil, angry, insane, and he lies. He's not running for re-election. Good for his constituents. Bad for everyone that he's still in the Senate. Although it looks as though he has a prosperous post-Senatorial career playing Emperor Palpatine at SF convetions. Tho' few SFFans I know could stand being in the same building with him.

The Dole, Guiliani, and McCain show
John McCain sells out, Bob Dole spits on his own medals, and Giuliani just makes crap up (He relates how he grabbed the arm of his Commissioner Kerik post 9/11 and exclaims "Thank God for George W Bush!". He made that up). Anyone notice McCain's family was nowhere to be found? After what his own party did to his reputation and the lies they told about his family, I still boggle that he can walk up and be a proud soldier for them. Either they're into him or he's into them.

Purple Heart Band-aids
Funny thing. I'm not supposed to respect any achievement John Kerry has made and buy the concept that somehow he didn't deserve his medals, but I'm supposed to respect the very same medals his critics have. The convention goers, you see, are only criticizing the medals Kerry recieved. However, the same process to review medal qualifications that Mr Kerry went through was also executed for anyone recieving the same medals, including his critics. No matter what any fellow officer wrote about Kerry's recommendations the paperwork was reviewed by an impartial commission independent of the incident. It has long been thus in the military. Prevents people from getting medals who do not deserve them. If the process was flawed for one recipient, then it may be flawed for many.
The slime slung by the Swift Boat Veterans For Thier Version Of The Truth, in the end, cheapens almost every medal awarded. They paint a picture of soldiers who do what's expedient than what is honorable, which is completely opposite the personal knowledge of soldier I do have. The critics who accuse Kerry of having medals he doesn't deserve thus cast doubt on thier own medals. This cheapening is a serpent swallowing its own tail; in the end, there's a crass display like the Purple heart band-aids.

GOP Convention Delegates
What a crass, arrogant bunch of out-of-towners. Suprisingly the band-aids weren't the low point. No, good old fashioned brownshirt-style thuggery; as a female protester was being wrestled to the ground outside Madison Square Garden, a Young Republican joined the fray and just started kicking her. The protester was jacked up for protesting. The Young Republican wasn't even detained.

President Bush's Speech
They built him a proscenium stage for it. Buzz was that he was to rise out of the dais but just his podum did that; he walked out like a game show emcee. The regular podum that everyone else was using wasn't good enough for him; he wanted to come out like a rock star, and that he has nowhere near that bearing just made him stand out all the more.

05 September 2004

Victor Boc Rides Into The Sunset

Well, our short national nightmare is over.

I'm not referring to the Republican National Convention, though that qualifies. Zell Miller! Whoo! Use that to scare children! And Ahhnold, an Austrian who can't get his own WWII history straight. Amongst other things.

No, what I'm referring to is Victor Boc's tenure as a talk jock at KPAM News-Talk 860. The reign of terror ended sometime this last spring when KPAM was de-Boc'd. The Tribune's Pete Schulberg:

"On the other side of the political spectrum, conservative talk show host Victor Boc has been given his walking papers by KPAM. Moving over to Boc’s 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. slot is Los Angeles-based host Larry Elder; he’ll be followed from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. by a locally originated show featuring former weekend host Victoria Taft.
   Boc’s downfall was his inability to hold onto Sean Hannity’s afternoon audience; scuttlebutt also has it that he had been butting heads with Clapper."

The "Clapper" Pete refers to is one Gregg Clapper, which goes a long way toward explaining why KPAM's programming has been so dreary and why Sean Hannity has a cozy home there. Clapper has run with the know-nothing, tax-reactionary Don McIntire/Bill Sizemore, more-neocon-than-thou crowd in the past. He long had a habit of registering single-person PACs with long absurd names like the "Let's Not Elect a Soft-On Crime, Democrat Contributing, Liberal Judge-Backing Republican for Governor committee" (yes, that was really its name. He used it to slime Ron Saxton) simply to run Loren Parks-funded commericals with the name on the end. Sort of a series of neocon jokes without any detectable punchline. Long on sneer, condescension, and distortion of opponents, short on actual facts. Just the kind of person that have screwed politics into the ground over here in Orygun.

I digress. Anyway.

I can see the 'butting heads' now. Two forces of nature coming to bats at each other. Something had to give. I wonder who they got to clean the blood off the walls after that meeting.

And, in as much as someone of Clapper's calibre is running any part of the show at KPAM, it remains unlistenable, and the energy you would have used to dial in 860 KHz would better be put to some other use, like self-gratification. Or playing a few levels of Descent. You make the call.

Over on slenderintellect.com...er, sorry...victorboc.com, all that's menched is that Victor has left KPAM over a "parting of the ways". Cliched, but diginfied. At least he showed some on his way out the door.

"Dear President George W Bush:

Could you please make the Mars colony project go faster, so we can send Victor Boc there? I mean, he might get back on the air somewhere.

Sincerely,
Sam Klein (age 42)
Portland Oregon"

02 September 2004

Appeasing the Karaoke Gods

New cool place to go 'oke, Chan's Steakery on SE Main Street in downtown Milwaukie.

My The Wife[tm] has been a bona fide Oke-head for a while. She's done the Cheerful Tortoise (downtown on SW 6th Ave near Portland State Universerary) and The Porterhouse (out on SE McLoughlin Blvd in Oak Grove). She's been a few places I don't know too much about because, around here, she's the one with the seven-nights-a-week off where as I bust my own chops almost all week long. But that's another program.

Chan's really make a good impression on me. Almost terminally-upbeat KJ named Ivor, the business owner gets into the action, a combination plate that has General Tso's Chicken (which you don't have tor request to get spiced up), I mean, the place has a lot going on. Not the least a KJ crew that looks like it has a ton of fun. It looks as though The Wife[tm] might be asked to join 'em.

I also now ownz0r the Partridge Family's I Think I Love You. I'm not to bad at Billy Joel, either, if I do say so myself. And I do.

Saturday Slant:World In Pause

This week are we posed a situation that I found disturbing yet compelling. Before I knew it, I was dealing with questions of feeling about loss.

Due to its personal impact, I've posted my response on Pariah's Saturday Slant page, thus:

http://www.iampariah.com/blog/archives/000435.html

And, as usual, the main Slant page is thus:

The Saturday Slant - New Every Saturday Morning