29 October 2004

[sundial_life] Notes From The Fray

  • We haven't voted yet. We also haven't been plagued with all those campaign workers we're s'posed to be plagued with. We know pretty much who and what, we just haven't gotten our number twos out to do the job.
  • I was going to come up with this snarky little 'heres how you should think' posting, but I've decided I'm not gonna. Too much opinion, too little time, not enough writing ability.
  • However, I'm not voting for Bush. If he can't figure it out after four years, another four years isn't going to do it for him either.
  • The i.v. medcines from Kaiser have been gone through, and now I'm on Keflex (its generic version, actually–cephalexin) orally, qid. The leg still looks a fright, but much less of a fright.
  • Am most of the way through the last novel in Stephen King's The Dark Tower (Book VII-The Dark Tower). It's a good read. I count myself as a Constant Reader. It's been worth the wait, especially the statement King seems to be making about his art with respect to what happens to him in the outside world, and most specifically the roadside accident in 1999 that nearly ended his life. It's almost as though he's working it out through the story. The surprising thing is, that it's working. We also lose two major characters in the story before feet are set on the last leg to the Tower. I won't spoil it here, except to say that the ka-tet will be broken. Bastard made it so that even if you expect it, you won't expect who, and it will surprise you when.
  • Formulating a plan on catching up on the art school-work; I have to complete a watercolor and make a new one before Monday, and on Monday I will have some sort of discussion with the life-drawing teacher.

28 October 2004

[volcano] The Mountain By Moonlight

Hey, guys, looka this pitcher:

This is Loowit on a clear night. The USFS Volcano Cam is a pretty naff device, eh? Due to the low light level, it can't resolve out the chatter but it can provide enough gain that you can see very very white things illumnated by the full moon, such as the snowcap on the old broken cone, and the plume coming off the new dome.

Your tax dollars at work, my babies, your tax dollars at work!

[sundial_life] All's I Can Say Is, Thank God For Health Insurance

My, but it's been an eventful weekend, friends and people. Had everything in it for a great weekend away: sights not usually seen, new faces, different places, different cuizine. Everything in it but actual fun.

The last major thing that happened before this was the loss of our Original One Gray Cat (see last posting). The Wife[tm] and myself went home, had our private times, got a bit drunk. She slammed down 5 shots of Vanilla rum (Rum[R], the drink ya drink when ya wanna hurl). And I had a couple - enough to feel little pain but not enough to produce a bad aftermorning.

The Wife[tm] paid her respects at the porcelain cliche, and I saw her to bed.

We slept well.

On Thursday I woke up with the worst shivers I'd had in a good long while. This I get off of two-and-a-half shots or rum...taken slowly? No. Not right. Advice nurse came of the opinion that I was suffering from a "virus that was going around", and sounded like something others were reporting.

But it was obvious that this was a day-breaker. Into bed with me. Shivering and actually too tired to go to sleep. That became too weak to sit up and take fluids. Then the telltale pains in the leg started.

There is a nasty infection out there whose ravages are reserved, apparently, for a select group, and apparently I'm one of them. Cellulitis. Look it up for the details. Suffice to say that it turns my leg (sometimes one, sometimes both) bright red, bloated, and exquisitely painful. This takes usually a week, min, to get back up on the feet, and 1-2 months for all signs of the infection to wane with constant treatment.

I never asked, but I'm betting that, if left unchecked, it'll probably kill you. I don't have the nerve to look that one up.

Fast forward now: Thursday afternoon, call in sick to work, go to Kaiser Sunnyside E/R, get Vicodin and Keflex (am reactive to Augumentin, damitall), go home to take it easy. Friday afternoon, back, given more look over, white cell count very high of course. They nearly let us get away. My lack of fluids intake over the past two days is such that it looks like my ever loving kidneys are trying to fail.

I am admitted to the hospital for what becomes a three day stay.

During this three day stay, our old, beatup Subaru is...broken into.

The thieves take the stereo. And also my backpack. Which has nothing in it except the homework for my Life Drawing class for the entire term so far, and the syllabus containing contact information for the instructor. It's taken me so long to get through to PCC Art Department (not thier fault, don't think that) that the instructor has yet to get through to me. Art tools lost (replaceable, but crap). Dairy with leather pullover cover missing. I was almost up to entry #900.

Most thieves look real quick and see if there's anything in there they can sell, and if it's all just personal stuff, toss it in the nearest dumpster. This is never the kind of thief we get (over the past 13 years our wagon's been busted into twice. Both times I've never seen my personal items again. What do they do with them?).

I'm also gonna miss that Flash drive. SanDisk Cruzer 256Mb. From The Wife[tm] for last anniversary. Hope they have fun with...well, whatever.

In a move of prescience, The Wife[tm] remembered to retrieve the Palm M130 and the Stephen King novel (library) that I'm reading. Left the rest down there deeming it too heavy. It probably was. She's been kicking herself on that one.

The car was in a well-lit area of the hospital less than twenty steps from the E/R door and within sight of the security office. But then, it was a curious weekend out at KSMC, as news-watchers will know; not long after our incident, some knife weilding dumbass gets a purse from a woman being wheeled out of the E/R toward the parking garage. This guy they got. The woman in the chair got his license plate as he drove off. It was found parked in front of his house on SE Linwood Avenue later that night. Imbicile

I'll backfill this later on. Suffice it to say that right now, I am home, getting antibiotic fired into me via a little tiny tube, and if there's anything that make you think some cliched' joke like "borg implant", it's a "P.I.C.C." line.

I'm getting over it. I may even be able to get back on board and catch up on school matters. Though that Life Drawing class is going to be a bit of a toughie.

21 October 2004

[sundial_life] Woolgathering, 21.10.04

Have listened to the new Duran Duran album Astronaut. As a matter of fact, was priviledged to snap the last available deluxe copy off the shelf at the East Burnside Music Millenium.

You a DD fan? You a "durannie"? Then you need the deluxe version. The package is a 2-CD case; one CD is the album, the other is a DVD containing the new video to the radiolicious single "(Reach Up For The)Sunrise", which is a fine video for a fine song.

But that's not all. The DVD is a clever thing. It is a tour documentary combined with concert footage of the 2004 campaign through England. The clever part is the formatting; the "play all" menu item plays the documentary with the songs in, and the "songs only" item plays the...well, the songs only.

I'll go over the content in a more detailed review soon. Suffice it, for the present, to say that it's 1983 all over again, with a modern finish. If you think of Astronaut as DD's fourth album (with a lot of interesting experimentation starting with Notorious and ending with Pop Trash) then you have the idea, pretty much.

After The Keeeton

It's been an interesting night, in the wrong way. I'm pleasantly numb, but my poor The Wife[tm] kind of went over the deep end. Yes, this cat was that beloved by us.

I could provide details of how she came so wrought, but I've already given up too much in that last sentence. Look at it this way: every remarkable personality that leaves you, that makes you contemplate death and the end of things, has an effect on you. Some people went ape over the death of certain celebrities. Can we be blamed if we go a little frayed around the the edges when we lose a good friend of seventeen years, one who taught us and nourished us as we cared for him?

Even if that someone was a very special grey and white cat?

[sundial_life] Denkmal für die erste Katze

Or, Memorial for the First Cat.

Some will recall that, in this post, I detailed the physiological travail of our beloved Keeeton, our Hauptkatze, Number One Son.

While we did get him some treatment, and The Wife[tm] was giving him sub-cutaneous fluids in an attempt to get him his strength back...well, on a younger cat it would have maybe made a difference. Keeeton was diginifed, but old Moe Mentum has swung the other way.

At 02:00 approximately, the three original family members, The Wife[tm], Me, and The Cat[tm] were in emergency at SE Portland Animal Hospital (138th and SE Stark, in case anyone's wondering) and we were facing a big decision.

Keeton had, not long before that, done something unprecedented. He had a minor seizure. That caused the both of us to drop what we were doing and get him in. After a mercifully short time of examination the doc came in to give us what we knew we were going to hear: The Best Damn Cat In The World was never going to get any better, was never going to improve even a little from a frail thing that would only move if you picked him up and that had stopped communicating with the world at large.

He, at that time, had a temperature of 91F. Normal kitty body temp is 102F. It was almost as though he were shutting himself down.

I can almost believe that. In a way, he did me a favor. Losing him is tough, but a little less tough because that elan vital that was Keeeton had seemed to have slowly departed over the course of the last few weeks. It was easier, but just by a little bit.

We've had to escort cats to the end of thier paths before, so the procedure was actually familiar.

This will be the only cat, so far, that we will retain the ashes for.

His number will be retired. There will be no more Number 1 cat; Keeeton is an act that cannot be followed. The Top Cat's official designator from here on out will be die zweiten Katze, or the Second Cat; actually, there will always be a First Cat, and that cat, in memory as well as in life, will be Keeeton.

He found us in October, 1987. We had to let him go in October, 2004. He was 17 years old.

19 October 2004

[us_politics] Paul Krugman: The Smartest Man In Print

I've followed Paul Krugman for a while. His column is one of the few things I'll let my personal info out for a free online registration to read a national newspaper.

A few posts ago I opined as to how the President is being less than honest with himself or us when he proclaims that there will be no draft during his second term, given the array of shell games that are being played to stanch the flow of people leaving the forces.

But Krugman's a smart fellow because he can explain it so much better than me.

[geek_life] All-In Computng

Can four Brits, a 'fridge, and an assortment of cooling liquids overlclock a vintage ISA motherboard (powered by an Intel 486SX) by a factor of more than nine hundred percent?

No need to do the math, friends:

  1. Proceed to Project E.U.N.U.C.H.

  2. Sit down

  3. Shut up

  4. Strap in

  5. And hold on

Seriously, this is one of the most inspired bits of lunacy I've seen in an awful long time. The supporting website (Temple ov thee Lemur) is a howl too. Just go there.

[us_politics] Jon Stewart: Smartest Man In TV

Tucker Carlson is such a putz. (Clicky the Linky)

That's one fellow who needed to be hoisted on his petard, was, and just doesn't get it. And, he so damned impressed with hisself that he never ever will.

17 October 2004

[us_politics] The Best Damn Health Care System On The Planet

We are desparately short of 'flu vaccine. I'm not getting a shot this year. People are waiting in lines like they were Springsteen (ca. 1987) tickets.

However, you can get Viagra everywhere and the airwaves are laden with self-indulgent ads in questionable taste with this complete bozo who's exstatic because his "Wild Thing" is back. Ending with two horns coming out of his head.

They were right; it is the work of the Devil.

Which horse is this? Must be pestilence.

[us_politics] Is Someone Telegraphing?

Credit Knight-Ridder Newspapers (via TheState.com) for the article containing the following quote by the President at one of his events:
"I made it very plain. We will not have an all-volunteer army." The crowd fell silent. "WE WILL have an all-volunteer army," Bush said, quickly catching himself. "Let me restate that. We will not have a draft."

So, which is it?

Let's be honest with ourselves. If the current campaign in Iraq cannot be sustained without stop-loss, without activating the IRR, without the so-called "back door draft", then the President is either being dishonest to himself, to us, or to both (does it matter which?) that a draft will not be needed to maintain the force strength.

We hear of various methods being used to keep enlisteds in just a little bit longer. Why do them if the sitch is a-okay?

[design] QuarkXPress 6.5 Release Imminent

The folks over at Quark, Inc are preparing to roll out thier next refinement to their flagship page layout program, XPress.

The new release, version 6.5, will be available free to registered Quark users, according to copious press releases displayed on the Quark home page. It will include not only QuarkVista, the XTension providing basic image geeking from within XPress (and not coincidentally, enable importing of native Photoshop files, according to the press releases).

XPress 6.5 will also include an XTension called QuarkXClusive, which allows for integration of databases to designs, resulting in customized outputs.

This will be well worth watching for. 6.5 will be Quark's first real answer to Adobe's InDesign insurgency. The concept of imagesmithing from within XPress without having to save out and re-edit would be an innovation for Quark. The idea of integrating database content with design is intriguing, but will it be recieved with as much indifference as, say, synchronized text was?

I anticipate the release of 6.5, and promise to publish whether or not I consider it worth showing up for.

16 October 2004

[pdx_life] Powell's Travel Store to Close

This just in from the business pages of todays Oregonian: citing declining sales in travel books, Powell's Travel Store, located in Pioneer Courthouse Square, is slated for the axe.

I don't know if they're going to have any clearance events or such, but the date for winding up has been set for 31 January 2005.

It will be missed. Not that I'm any sort of traveler, but I am crazy mad about maps, especially city maps, and Powell's has been the best source, not just for local maps but also for city maps across the USA as well as around the world. Little quirky maps by local publishers, of cities I couldn't have gotten any other way. I hold out hope that they will expand the travel section at Burnside, but we shall see.

Have gotten my best German maps there as well. Always a pleasant place for a browse. I shall miss it. For a long time you could get backstocked maps of the incorporated city of Rajneeshpuram that the State of Oregon put out while it was an unchallenged city (I have one, naturlich, but I didn't get it from there.

I don't write often about my abiding love of maps or my rather large collection that would be simply wrong for anyone who doesn't love maps. Way too distracted. But that's a subject for the future.

14 October 2004

[sundial_life] The Day After Tomorrow DVD

Me and The Wife[tm] finally got a chance to see the TDAT DVD that she got me for our anniversary. After a long full day of makin' art at PCC and watching a recording of the third debate (Kerry won), mixed myself a rum and Dr Pepper and sat back.

The bottom line for this is that, if you really like the movie, you'll want to have it. If you're neutral or didn't care for the movie, you'll want to rent it or wait until a 'directors cut' or something comes out.

The movie is fine. The extras are lame, lame, lame! Promised is DVD-ROM content that provides access to over an hour of behind the scenes content. Hot Damn! But it's only compatible with Win 2000/XP...and not Macintosh! Crap!

Thanks, Rupert! Value for money! Especially if, I understand correctly, the DVD-ROM information links out to a website. I can't be sure. And I won't find out, because my hot PowerMac G4 isn't good ennough for 20th Century Fox to market to.

There is commentary. I haven't listened to it yet, as I was interested in reliving the movie experience. I'll listen to the comments later. However, if the director's commentary is as bland and banal as the stuff for Independence Day, it won't be worth showing up for.

There is a featurlet called "Inside Look", which isn't an inside look at TDAT, but an inside look at Fox films that are coming up. Which, in the main, I'm not interested in. Also uninteresting is the trailers for movies I don't plan on seeing stuck on on the front of the DVD (which you can't use the Menu key to get round).

There is one extra worth seeing. It's an interactive demo that gives you an idea of how sound happens in a film. The demo centers on the scene of the doomed RAF helicopter expedition to rescue the Royal Family from Balmoral, when the helos fly out of the storm into the eye and are then annihilated by the -150F downdraft. The scene can be played and replayed with just the sound effects, only the mechanical sounds, only the dialogue, only the Foley effects, or use the Audio button to cycle between sound layers. It was actually very interesting and fun. Didn't make up for the absoute dearth of extras, but it was interesting and fun.

Bottom line: if you can't bear living without this movie, go ahead and get the disc. If you only have a Mac, though, learn to like doing without most of the extras. If you buy DVDs for the extras, and are not a big fan of this movie, wait until it goes on sale somewhere.

I love the movie, but I feel like we've been had.

12 October 2004

[volcano] The Nose Of The Gopher

Mount St. Helens, right now:

See that bright spot in the upper part of the graphic, on the right? That's the glow of lava off the clouds of steam, my children. Bright enough to show in the imaging field of a camera five miles away. Lava, of course, is what we call magma when it's exposed to the atmosphere. Magma must remain forever unseen to remain magma.

We just saw, on KGW-8, overflight video of the crater that showed red lava glowing through the cracks in the new lava dome. KATU-2 and KOIN-6 showed an unhealthy fixation of Qyntel Woods and dogfighting, of which a sudden epidemic of people getting caught has happened. They got to the mountain eventually, with Paul Bukta of KATU-2 on that really cool grainy green night-scope.

He also delivered the line of the night, when commenting on the USGS's desire to fly an unmanned drone over the crater and the necessity of notifying the FAA: "First, the Government is going to have to get permission...from the Government"

The gopher...has arrived.

10 October 2004

[volcano] Steam Event Today

When I logged in on getting home today, here's what I was treated to on the VolcanoCam:

That's been the way it's been most of the day. A current check of the camera shows something that looks like a weaker version of the same. Radio reports suggest that it may be due to water seeping down into the hot parts of the dome, as it is mostly steam, very little ash, and no apparent change in seismic activity.

[us_media] High Hackery

As I review the impressions of the media coverage over the past year-plus, I am struck over and over by how the media have given the incumbent a pass over things much more serious than what Clinton ever contemplated.

Perhaps they were thinking they were banking goodwill?

Don't bet on it.

A few positive stories on the Democratic candidates and look how they turn on 'em. (The link goes to an opinion piece at the New York Post, which is a Murdoch organ, natch).

For those who have eyes to see, here is all you need to know about national media today:

  • The President is a wise leader

  • He's not really made any mistakes

  • Anything that comes to the surface in that wise isn't newsworthy

  • The Democratic candidates are fundamentally evil

  • Any positive attribute they have is insincere at best

  • Any positive coverage of them is prima facie evidence of thier being surrogates for the Demos, and likely paid ones at that

  • Any such activity will cause the source to be destroyed in place

Mix the above with a healthy dash of the traditional There's a liberal bias in the Media whine. Serves serveral millions apparently.

The above is why people say Fox News misinforms its public. That is what they do.

That is also why we don't have cable.

[us_politics] Civil Discourse, R.I.P.

This is of course something that many people have noted, but somehow I've been insulated from this for a long time, at least any direct effect.

There's a new fellow at work, and this new cow-orker is a bit of a piece of work. Not a bad fellow, but a bit twisted actually. He's a 'Nam vet, has a wooden leg, smart and friendly but just a bit...wrong somehow. But overall someone we all should be able to work with. The industry I'm working in has no shortage of characters, and this fellow (I'll call him W [no reference to the President intended]) will certainly qualify as one of them.

During the waning hours of my shift, someone wondered if anyone'd watched the debates. We all chimed in, saying what we thought. It was quite friendly and casual actually.

W suddenly chimed in about his opinion on Kerry. Hated him. Said that his Purple Hearts were a "slap in the face", in as much as W himself had earned two of them himself. There was evil in his voice, and hatred which had no intention of listening to anyone else. I knew at once that taking up with him why he felt that way was pointless from the get-go.

Thus I did the cowardly thing: I let it go by. I just wasn't up to applying the light of sweet reason to the situation.

I realized at that point that this was the poison. W was bent out of shape, primarily it seemed, because Kerry was in country only four months and got what he felt were trifling injuries. This, my people, means the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth have won. Thier mission is accomplished.

Look at it this way. I am typically loath to criticise the viewpoints of a member of the Forces that saw actual combat, injury, and death. I tend to give them a pass because, hell, they were there. They did the dirty work that allows us to have a country that allows me to have liberal, lefty views without having to worry about some Gestapo tapping me on the shoulder to tell me what to think or do.

But here is this fellow who lost a limb, for chrissakes (sorry), and he's repeating talking points from the Repulbicans and the SWVT as though they were actually discussionworthy facts. That Kerry was in country for four months was one of the canards the Swifties spread. Also that his wounds we're serious enough or that-egad-he even self-inflicted them (thanks for your assistance on that one, Bob Dole [now you know it, I know it, and the American People know it]).

Now it's fashionable to criticize John Kerry for not being as heroic as others, not being injured or maimed as deeply as others, despite the fact that a military establishment that should be beyond reproach gave Kerry honorable medals according to reviewed procedures that were, at the time anyway, utterly trustworthy.

It's not Kerry who tarnished the medals, it's the Republicans and the Swifties. In my view, either the process for granting medals in the military is unimpeachable or hoplessly corrupt. In order for me to accept that Kerry somehow didn't deserve his medals, I also have to accept that for some unfathomable reason the Army personnel reviewing his recommendations suffered a catastrophic breakdown in judgement and process.

If they did it for Kerry, who else did they do it for? This is the logical destination. Stopping at the assumption that this only happened to John F Kerry is drinking the Kool-Aid. It's just that simple.

The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth cannot call Kerrys medals into question without calling thier own (some of which were achieved at more or less the same time) as well. They beg thier own question, upon themselves.

Now I'm not sure that I feel comfortable about talking military medals at all. That's not the way it should be.

The poison is out there.

[volcano] State Of The Crater

Last word on the radio: the bulge in the crater of Mt St Helens is now four hundred feet high and one-quarter of a mile across.

VolcanoCam that I'm viewing right now seems to show a jet of steam coming from the crater.

09 October 2004

[volcano] Loo-wit Up-to-date, Part 2

The south crater floor has, radio reports say, increased in height to 25-30 feet above the top of the already-extant lava dome. Seismic activity has increased.

All indiciations are that there's a big 'ol glowing gopher just below the surface, waiting to come out. It just has to make its way.

All your magma are belong to us.

[sundial_life] The Keeeton Goes Forth

The Top Cat is responding positively to the theraputic measures The Wife[tm] is perforce applying.

Part of it was that he is bored. He goes out on the leash to explore the front yard as he will. He looks more animated, interested. The Wife[tm] is taken where the Top Cat wants to go.

Also the Clavamox (an antibiotic akin to Keflex) is having an effect. Appetite and energy seem to be up a little bit.

[us_politics] In Defense Of Debates

There's been a great deal of moaning and groaning about the Presidential debates.

"They aren't real debates"

"They're just media events"

"They're too much show"

"They don't really talk about issues"

and on and on and on.

I've watched each one of them, and I'm going to watch the last. I'm also not watching them for what I wish they'd be, but what they are.

They give us the two men, in a pressure situation. They have to think on thier feet. They have to respond to conditions that they can't completely control, regardless of the number of items in that ridiculous contract.

We've found out that John Kerry is cool under pressure, concise, and to the point. His brain is clearly engaged. We've found out that W acts like a deer in the headlights in a formal situation, and like he's on the stump when in a 'town hall' style forum

We've found out that both men sometimes answer a bit too elliptically for the answer to be useful.

I'm in it for Kerry. I don't think Bush has done a good job, not well enough for me to approve him for four more, and certainly not to give him a chance to 'do over'. So, cards on the table, I thought we were seeing the true Bush in Event one, and the only thing that saved him in Event two was that he was able to work the crowd. I always feel like a huckster is talking to me when he does.

I was positively impressed by the wit and nimble intellect that Kerry displayed. I found him to be engaged, ready to hit the ground running. Bush seemed intimidated by both experiences. Kerry seemed eager to go at them.

Of course, we also see that which we want to see in these things. But when you see the gentleman answering the question, he's relying on his wit and his smarts. In a way, we see what each man is really made of. And that, my friends, is the value of these events.

07 October 2004

[sundial_life] Die Hauptkatze Aktuell

The Wife[tm] has just returned from a visit to have The Keeeton examined by the vet. News is positive overall.

He has the heart of a much younger cat (don't wait for the joke, it ain't comin'). He has a couple of infections, one in the tooth and one resperatory. We have an antibiotic to give him for that. Blood work is being done, but we don't know the answers to that question yet. There is a mass in the area of his stomach that could be cancer, but there's no way to tell, and it's not clear whether or not it's something to worry about.

Bottom line; he's as old as the kitty hills. The vet's estimate is that, if you transferred Keeeton's current record proportionally to that of a human, you'd get a geezer of about 120 years age (my words, not hers).

Longevity in any living being is a gamble. Average lifespans are just that, averages; they are exceeded and fallen short on in equal measure. I think one of the reasons we are seeing so much more old-age disability is that there is so much old age these days, people are living longer. Not only does the body have an upper limit on how much regeneration it'll do, but you can only roll the dice for so long before you come up craps.

So, Keeeton is not in imminent demise. However, is seems clear that the coda of this wonderful cat's life is beginning. Looks like it will be quality time.

[volcano] Loo-wit, Up To Date

Though the alert level has been decreased to Level 2 (or what I call Volcano DefCon 3) the activity still goes on. Harmonic tremors still are the order of the day, and there was a steam event this morning. The news reporting also continues.

The south side of the crater floor, between the dome and the crater wall, as bulged upward about two hundred and fifty feet, one hundred of that coming in the last 48 hours. Seismic activity has decreased mainly because the magma has done most of its work in clearing out the old cold rocks.

The bulging in the crater does somewhat remind me of the seemingly endless growing bulge on the north side of the old peak in the two-month runup to the 1980 blow.

05 October 2004

[volcano] New Vents In The Crater

After getting that picture that graced the last posting (and indeed getting six or seven more, loading them into Preview, and treating the whole darn thing like a flip movie book) I took a beak from the computer and turned on the television.

KGW-8 was showing Breaking News about Loo-wit. The glacier in the crater, which is draped around the south side of the lava dome like a scarf about a neck, appears to be breaking down, quite possibly due to magma just below the surface.

The Oregonian has also published a photograph showing the new features. Essentially we now have three new holes in the crater floor, and that's where all the venting is coming from. One is at the lava dome/glacial interface, and has a pool of water in it, sometimes steaming, sometimes boiling.

The venting of steam and ash isn't doing anything to allevate the pressure, though. What energy is being released isn't but a fraction of what's gathering below.

And to the folks in the Central Washington Cascade towns of Randle and (the ironically interestingly named) Packwood, it's back to the '80s as they deal with the realities of the ashfall and as they prepare for the big ashfall should the sustained winds keep going to the northeast.

[volcano] First Actual Eruption Image

From the National Monument's VolcanoCam:

St Helens ash and steam ejection

Just verified via radio reports; we have an ash and steam event at Mount St Helens, almost 24 hours on the pin after the last one.

This is not the big one. The crater floor severely deformed-up almost one hundred and fifty feet since eruptive activty resumed.

04 October 2004

[pcc_life] Adventures in Art

Getting into the swing of things in my art classes.

Watercolor I went swimmingly today. The day's project was to take three primaries, mix a neutral (or as close as could be done) with them, and do a monochrome study with them. There were many photocopies of faces and I took one from the '30s (watching all those old black and white movies has had its effect).

It came out rather well. The biggest gain was the increasing awareness of how to work with watercolor, how you can build up areas with successive layers of paint and how you can use a wash to create a background.

Life drawing is a pleasure. I have never drawn from a living model before, and was somewhat intimidated by the prospect of being in a room with a nude woman who was a stranger, regardless of the context. Never mind. It was fine! A few minutes of critical viewing and it was all about drawing and technique.

While I didn't learn the model's name, I did find out a little about her. She'd been modelling for art classes for about seven years, and it showed in her attitude and manner; when it was time to go to work she simply doffed the soft clothing she was wearing and got up on the dais and did what she was supposed to. I'd say that her obvious professionalism contributed in no small way to eliminating my fear of being in a new and strange situation.

I grew a great deal, artistically. My gestural studies were found Very Good Indeed by not only the instructor (Gene Flores), but The Model.

[volcano] It Obviously Wasn't

No, the fleck on the camera image in the last entry there was apparently not an eruption.

However, Loo-wit did not disappoint. It has been reported by various outlets that at about 09:00 today, a steam event occurred which ejected a plume up to about 12,000 feet. Saw the video on KPTV's The Ten O'Clock News tonight, it was quite the sight. Still don't have a picture of it though.

There are also reports of a boiling lake in the south part of the crater (behind the lava dome as you look into it) and significant deformation of the crater floor.

Could be any time now, we hear.

Prevailing winds are blowing out of the southwest. That means any significant ashfall will go in the direction of the cities of Yakima and Spokane. Welcome back to the '80's, boys!

[volcano] Was This An Eruption?

I'm not sure. You be the judge:

Notice the litte black smudge centered directly over the lava dome. It looks like a plume of some sort, but I doubt it in as much as there are little 'zigzags' in the margin that suggest it is a video artifact (you can click on the picture to enlarge it).

Five minutes later:

Now notice there's a haze somewhat above and to the left of the dome. Could be local conditions, or maybe the little smudge disspated.

03 October 2004

[volcano] Loo-Wit:Forward Into The Past

Saw part of a program on KOIN (6) tonight. Caught it in passing. They were running file footage of the Newsroom 6 telecast the afternoon of 18 May 1980.

Talk about memories rushing back.

The indomitable Mike Donahue was helming the newscast then. He seems preternaturally young, a kind of Portland version of Dick Clark. He's been with KOIN over 20 years. In this broadcast he looked like a teenager, and with that transitional '70s-'80s hairstyle, he looked rather like a believeable version of Ashton Kutcher. We should all get the chance to look as good and age as well as him.

Bill Diez gave a report on the Toutle mudflows filmed at several of the bridges. He looked even younger than Donahue did. If anyone remembers him from his last broadcast stint, KOIN morning news traffic reporter ("and, at the ODOT Traffic Command Center, I'm Bill Diez") the difference is remarkable. His 'fro, while well within broadcast standards, was funny, at this remove of years.

Those who were watching during those days will remember Newsroom 6's set paradigm; the working newsroom, reporters busy at tasks even while the news was in production. I liked it. It gave KOIN an air of seriousness and dynamism that the Channel 2 and 8 didn't have. I miss it. In the background I saw Wayne Faligowski making phone calls.

The other reports showed the big peak a-pumping out her plume, and film from Yakima which, as one may or may not remember, was as dark as night in the middle of the day. It was to be the first day of months of dealing with volcanic ash, a travail we in Oregon were fortunate to avoid.

I hope they rebroadcast it. It was great fun to watch.

[zeitgeist] The Lineup #4

Mark Richardson Smith

The absence of Gene Flores

Cecelia Cutsforth

Ronn P. Keeton

Lucas Richardson


David Johnston

Karen Moore


The Sublime Flamingo

[blog_life] Blogrolling Comes To TZKT

In another grand experiment, I've decided to start messing with Blogrolling. There is an extremely short list down at the very very bottom of the right sidebar. As I get experience with it, I'll flesh it out some.

However, the Blogroll Me! link does work. I tested it (that's what my very own blog's name is doing there).

[pdx_life] Harmonic Volcanic Convergence

They remembered the word for the special sort of tremor Loo-wit is exhibiting right now: harmonic tremor.

What it is is sustained ground trembling brought on not by rocks breaking up but by the major movement of magma underground.

Sulfurous gasses have also been detected coming out of the crater, which is a sure sign of Something Coming Up. Now, fortunately, the mountain has not yet erupted, meaning I haven't missed my dream shots yet.

It will be something to see. Hopefully big enough to be somewhat spectacular, but there should be no life or property lost; the big cap of volcanic rock left us in 1980, and that was the reason for the huge explosion and great zone of damage, there is nobody living in the projected blast area. Volcanic ash wafting over Portland is possible but unlikely, as the prevailing winds generally go west to east.

[pdx_history] An Echo From Shared Memory

Sunday, 18 May 1980, 08:32PDT:

"Vancouver! Vancouver! THIS IS IT!"

--David Johnston, USGS Geologist

He was on a ridge approximately five miles from Mt. St. Helens.

At that moment, a Mr. Harry Truman, proprietor of the Spirit Lake Lodge, perished as he, his cats, and his lodge were obilterated by uncounted tons of mountainside.

Moments later, Johnston died as the blast overtook him.

Today, a Forest Service remote camera beams a view of the site all over the world, as we watch and wait again.

02 October 2004

[sundial_life] Die Hauptkatzes' Gesund

The cat photo of The Keeeton that I posted a couple of entries back was of the great cat at the full rush of youth. As I said, he hasn't changed much, just gotten kinda scrawny.

The Wife[tm] took him out into the lawn today, and he perked up quite a bit. She thinks that perhaps one of his problems is that he's bored. He's seen a lot, for a kitty. When she takes him out, he walks all over, looks into things, chews on the grass, and wants to be let into all the cars (she lets him in the VW).

These snaps were taken earlier tonight, in my studio.

Here we have the Top Cat where I can stroke him while at the computer. Yes, he does show his age, but isn't he still cute? He came in from outside, and he hates coming back in when he was having so much fun in the fresh air.

And here we have the Top Cat joined by his own Lieutenant, the one and only Bet-dog. Bet looks like he's watching over his hero but he's really just horning in to get any leftover pets.

He does love his hero though. Walks right up to him and bulldozes him with the top of his head, "Aw, I LOVE you!!!".

The Keeeton still has a few miles on him yet, it would seem.

[pdx_life] Volcano DefCon 4

Looks like the situation at St Helens has changed dramatically.

This AP Story (via Yahoo! News)
portends much more serious activity.

Once again, I missed a steam blast. Loo-wit, I'm going to get you...!

Anyway, the quality of the earth movement has changed fundamentally. The flurry of earthquakes in the past week indicated rocks being broken up. That could have been mere steam. The nomenclature now used is the word tremor, which apparently isn't so much a mass of 'quakes, but a single very long rumble brought on by a major sustained process-such as the movement of magma.

Oh, hell, read the AP story. Explains it better than I could.

Watch the peak!

[pcc_life] Next Dreamweaver Lesson Up!

Taking distance learning at WebCT.pcc.edu is fun and cool. I've got a new lesson up and I really need to go to bed, but I'm so excited about it that I'm going to go do it now.

Or at least start it.

[pdx_life] The Eruption Ain't Over Till....

According to story on Yahoo! (and backed up by local media reports), Loo-wit may still have some talking to do.

So I have my eyes on the northern horizon and the camera at the ready. Still.

I'll get my photos yet!

01 October 2004

[sundial_life] Das Erstekatzeleid

Die Hauptkatze
From The Wife[tm]'s website http://www.rdrop.com/users/tierna

We have our eye on the condition of the catly feline specimen pictured above. He was born in 1987, as near as we can tell. He's our Keeeton, and he's pushing 18.

As many cat lovers know, that's an oooooold fella.

He's been aging gracefully but now we fear that Old Man Time is starting to gain on him. He's gone a bit listless and has lost a fair amount of weight over the past year.

It's all been gradual, so we put it down to old age.

He's still a gorgeous kitty, but it's starting to be clear that the curtain on the last act of this magnificent cat's life may be raising now.

I fancy that we're ready. I fancy that. He's been with me and The Wife[tm] since not even a month since we became me and The Girlfriend[tm]. It's a bit like we're the three amigos (or maybe the two amigos and the amiga). Since The Keeeton started to transcend the normal kitty lifespan I've been reminding myself that I might not have him tomorrow.

Like I said, I fancy that I'm ready. I know I'll feel like hell when he's gone. He's the best kitty I've ever had. That's all there really is to say about that.

[us_politics] The Really Truly Last Word On The Debate

I'm listening to Air America right now, Randi Rhodes is tearing things up as is her usual wont. She's always a great listen.

Particularly now she's going over the overwhelmingly positive response to the Kerry peroformance in Debatetopia I. So far the best non-spin non-campaign Republican review of the Presidents effort amounts to damning with faint praise.

Around The Company Which Must Not Be Named, even the committed Bush voters amongst my cow-orkers actually conceded that Kerry made some good points and they were cutting him respect.

And yes, I know historically that the winner of the first round doesn't necessarily take the election (I am one of the blue voters that will never get over Gore's collegiate loss). But it's gratifying to hear the feedback being similar to my perceptions. Being right may be overrated, but it's very satisfying.

Of course, I knew our guy had won when Kerry guessed closer to the amount of his showcase than Bush did, and won them both.

[pdx_life] Damn, I Missed The Blast

Loo-wit knows I'm a day-sleeper.

I just climbed out of bed a little while ago only to hear over the radio that the anticipated eruption-mostly steam with a bit of ash-happened at about noon today.

And, on top of everything, the USFS Webcam server, whose output I feature on the sidebar, was so overloaded with requests that it crashed. The Cam still recorded images, but they won't be available for about a week, say the USFS.

I guess I carried around my camera for no good reason. Well, no not entirely. I've got some good cityscape shots. But I wanted one of the eruption! This is so not fair.

I'll still carry round the camera, of course. Once you start taking digital snaps, you really can't stop.

Until I can get me an image to put up here on the site, follow this link to a Yahoo! story about the eruption, including a link to video.

I am keeping the link to the VolcanoCam in the right-hand column. It's just plain cool.