19 March 2016

[Out122ndWay] Mt Hood-of-the-Day: In the Bright Sunlight

I'm usually through this stretch of 122 way before this hour. Put it down to T.C.B. and working overtime. Which is a thing that happens.

Back to the usual corner at NE 122nd and Shaver, Rossi Farms, and this is what it looks like with it's the time before the sun has passed the meridian but is still somewhere south of fully-out-of-the-way:

The mountain entices because it dares you to look closer and see more. But there's all that light.

That is merely a cloud in front of the peak there. There is no eruption impending, thankfully. I'm in love with that outline, and would have for something to harm that profile (it's the same reason I'm not fond of the "Baha Bug" VW conversion, but that's another program). A Plinian eruption such as what ravaged Mount St. Helens back in 1980 isn't likely, though … it would seem that Hood just doesn't roll that way.

But still it wouldn't be much fun. Let Mt. Jefferson erupt. They haven't seen action down that way in yonks. 

18 March 2016

[pdx] Sellwood Bridge Bonds: Same As It Ever Was …

One of the bits of ephemera given out at the Sellwood Bridge grand opening a few weeks back now, was this, printed on the back of a card given out by the Multnomah County Elections Dept to encourage y'alls to use your damn' franchise. Here it is. Most ironically illuminative:

It enumerates the various benefits the bridge would bring. Most unintentionally amusing is the point that The life of the contemplated bridge would be 40 to 50 years. The ad, as the attribution notes, was published in The Morning Oregonian in November of 1923, and the bridge would actually debut just slightly more than 2 years hence.

Given the cited lifespan, the old Sellwood reached its pull date in 1975. Interesting to think that they figured that a 50-year bridge would fix the need adequately. And, of course, the debate over taxes is an evergreen one.

Also, those fonts? Love those fonts! Those fonts just speak loudly of their time.

[Wy'East] Mount Hood-of-the-Day: Embedded In A Golden Dawn

The dawn, as profiled in the post before, was sublime. It had been a few days since I last saw the mountain, and this atmospheric display was moody and worthy:

I played withe the curves a bit in Photoshop to amp up the golden a bit. I'll cop to a little bit'o'manip. Here, for your further delectation, is a tighter shot:

I like the car lights in foreground. Makes it into more of a statement.

[liff] Radiant Dawn

Radiant, literally. Coming off my work shift this morning, observe the rays being picked out of the sky:

Sunrises are the best some times.

[Out122ndWay] Holy Irony On SE 122nd Avenue

Sometimes I wonder if the Shepherd's Gate Church isn't trolling.

Spotted by FB friend and RL fellow-Portlander Sarah Gerhardt, the church's reader board is usually seen by me travelling south on 122nd, so I see the north side. I don't travel north on 122 as much so, I missed this:

I shall leave you with only two thoughts:

1) The church, as reported, used to be a strip club.
2) Dudes, phrasing! 

Oh, before it slips my mind, Sarah's online home of publishing and awesome is She Never Slept. It's horrible, in the good way.

17 March 2016

[liff] The Dude Does Dutch Bros.

And in over the transom, here's the latest in the long line of desirable, have-able Dutch Bros. Coffee stickers:

The latte abides, dude.

[art] Paint-by-Number to Infinity, And Beyond!

The latest addition to the paint-by-number oeurve finds us rocketing out to the stars. What a trip, eh?

To infinity and beyond.

What all that green is doing in space, I've no idea. 

16 March 2016

[comic] A Bead That Looks Like StupidFox

I'm fond of rather a few web comics, of course, and today, after visiting A Bead Source, a little farther out SE Division St, she found this little fellow:

He reminds me of this little dude:

That's StupidFox, a little guy who's not too bright in the brain department, but a genius in the heart and soul division.

http://StupidFox.net, for the funny.

[art] Coffee Or Something Else … ?

The eternal artist dilemma. Reach carefully, Rembrandt …

Not as easy as you think. In Portland, coffee takes many, many forms.

Might be kopi luwak, for all I know.

11 March 2016

[literature] Fish Wielder Socks for True Afishionados … And A Book Trailer!

Since learning of J.R.R.R. Hardison, life certainly has been funnier at times. And life has just become a little more footwear.

Here, for your delectation, through the auspices of Mr. Hardison, is something I'd not thought exist: Fish Wielder socks.

Yes, socks.

Attractive, soft, and well-made, I predict these will be the envy and fashion of fine afishionados the
length and breadth of Grome, and several other alternative worlds.

With Bradfast ready to get down and get busy, truly your ankles have never been safer.

But that's not all! Jim has released a pretty slick book-trailer for the upcoming work, which I've embedded below, to be watched:

You have been warned.

August, 2016 is coming.

Prepare yourself.

[Out122ndWay] Mount Hood-of-the-Day: Cloudcap

I've done one cloudcap photo before; this one, while chaotic and low in detail, is very entrancing. More of a cloud-hoodie, really.

The location can be more clarified by the blade set at right, which not only gives one the nearest cross streets, but tells you it's in Portland's Argay Neighborhood. These are the old-style street blades, which seem to be becoming rarer along the main streets by the day.

Now, the mountain:

The mountain, as I said, is in low contrast. A surfeit of sunshine today throws the buildings at the far end of the Rossi property into a higher contrast, but that big floppy cloudcap should be unmistakable.

Head in the clouds, indeed.

10 March 2016

[creativity] The Drawback Of Mortality As Motivation, And A Wise Alternative


If there's anything the last couple of years has taught me that hangs in front of my face like one of those little pine tree air fresheners in your car's window, it's a two fold thing:
  1. Motivation is important
  2. It's too easy to confuse inspiration with motivation. They are not the same thing.
Going into this phase of my life, I had thought that all you had to do was surround yourself with inspiration and the gifts would perfect themselves.  Mind, that's not what it looked like at the time. I thought that stunning examples of what could be would bring out of me what could happen. And, the truth is, when it comes to inspiration, I'm neck deep in it and threatening to drown. I live in the state in which I was born, which is one of the most beautiful, semi-unspoilt places left on earth. I live in one of the most beautiful and desirable cities in America, a place so painfully pretty it almost satirizes itself. I have, over the years, collected a library of wonderful books about how to draw, how to paint, and how to write. I've managed to get an education in graphic design. My aesthetic sense is sharper than its ever been before, for what it's worth. And for friendship, online and in other places? I am privileged to have met people who are insanely, happily, unabashedly creative. Artists and authors I once dreamed of just saying 'thanks for the great work' to.

So, where's the creativity for me? Well, it turns out that I've gotten it wrong all this time, or at least halfway so.

Motivation is not only the not the same thing as inspiration, if you have all the inspiration and not motivation, you have a very pretty studio but you aren't doing anything with it. Inspiration is the fuel, and unless you have the spark of motivation, it remains inactive, inert, pretty … and kind of dead, a backdrop no matter how well and thoughtfully curated.

Add that spark to the fuel, and bang … you'll get motion. Production. Whether for an aspiration to an eventual career or just a fulfilling and meaningful use of spare time, without the motivation, you have faith. And faith without works is dead.

So, what does motivation look like?  Does it carry a scythe?

Well, there's the rub, innit? Just because you've figured out what it is, doesn't meant you know what to look for. You just know you have to look for … something. And so we search.
Amongst the things assayed is the idea of mortality … the end of it all, Old Morty Reaper, whatever you want to call it. A lifespan is a finite thing, we just don't know our pull date. The idea, as I understand it, to death being a great spur to motion, is simply this: work as though you might be dead tomorrow. #YOLO. Do it today, because you might here to do it tomorrow. It falls on the just and the unjust alike.

And it'll work to a point. But the Grim Reaper is an equally humorless taskmaster, and inviting him to watch is kind of redundant, as he'll come when the time is ripe anyway. There's no stopping him. And until you do meet him, it's nothing more than a Sisyphean, grim-faced, serious struggle, working dourly against a deadline, as though the more work you put in, the farther out that deadline might get pushed just a little. The best art has always been fun, and there is no fun there … just desperate, strenuous grasping for something, you don't really even know what it looks like.

And it ends up tiring in despair. The knowledge of ultimate demise operates as an intense negative to me, and I have work over the negative before I get to the positive. By the time I'm in reach of your power … I'm too glum and tired to use it, even if I could grasp it, after all that murky work.

A few days back, one evening, I seriously considered using the promise of oblivion as a spur, and was fleshing out some thoughts about it. A little later that evening, on my way in to my evening job, I was almost presented with my mortality; moving though an intersection I take every evening, I nearly became a casualty. I had the green and was going through and was more than halfway through the intersection when a car, running the red on the cross street, flashed across my field of vision. The red light camera standing sentinel gave two brilliant flashes, casting a cold metal relief on the whole thing, and making it other-worldly and surreal. It's still rattling me. A few seconds one way or the other, or the lack of a certain reflex, and I would have been hurtin' for certain, never mind my beloved 1972 VW Beetle … and we won't think any farther down that branch for now, thank you.

A short while before that I thought about doing something in case I died and couldn't do it any more. And then something happened that could have caused that, before I had so much as a chance to put that plan into operation. The sum total suggested that just taking my pleasures as I wanted to might be the best option, since who knows?

And that doesn't seem effective. I'm having a little trouble finding the words, obviously. Suffice it to say that it seemed even more of a pointless dead-end than all my scotched plans and scrubbed missions to this point in time.

All you need is now. And to be in the now?


Confiding this to The Wife™ a few days after that was a real revelation for me. She had the whole thing from a different angle. And I felt something warm open up because of it.

Let's see if I can relate it as I understand it from what she said. The way she seems to look at it, you spend every moment you can doing what you aspire to, because when you're in that moment, you're doing what it is you're supposed to be doing and so you aren't striving to go to a place, you're in the place you were supposed to be in all along. All the gifts should be there with you. So, instead of journeying to the promised land, learn to see the promised land as were you are right now. And you just start doing what it is you're supposed to be doing, because it's the most natural thing ever.

She said it much more succinctly, and better. And this is what I've been rolling back and forth in my mind. I noticed one thing begin to happen after that. A certain stress seems to have changed its pull. I got the sense then, that a flower had opened up in front of me, and at least one thing I needed was there, and I just had to develop the courage to reach and pick it up.

The current step is to build that courage. 

So, let's step back from the joss-stick-and-whalesong for a moment, and distill. Changing my assumption from trying to travel to a place I want to be to assuming I'm in the best possible place right now means whatever I have now, I can use, and whatever I have now are the tools necessary. If they're a little rusty or worn, I need to repair or sharpen them up. If the room's a little drab, I can decorate it within whatever ability and tools I have now. I don't have to wait. I don't have to be ready; actually, the idea of being ready becomes irrelevant.

It all is what it is. Just acknowledge what I have now, and use whatever that is I have now.  

And it's no longer a desperate struggle. It's still a struggle, yes … but it's a little happier one maybe.

It's taken a very long time to come to this simple, if prolix insight. I wish I had been ready for it a little earlier, but again, it is what it is. And it may or may not be the key. But I've arrived in this point, and I am here. 

In the now, where I might have what I need after all.

And, so it goes. 

09 March 2016

[comics] How To Draw A Horse Right, By Someone Who Should Know.

In this video, comic deity Donna Barr shows you how to draw a horse the right way, in 15 minutes, assisted by another comic deity, Roberta Gregory ...

The video was done last year at the Clallam Bay Comiccon, and if you didn't know that Donna created the series Stinz, then you should get acquainted with that.

(posted with some abashedness that I waited so long to do so. Personal reasons)

[design] NASA JPL's "Visions of the Future" Space Tourism Posters ... And A Place That'll Print 'Em For You

A short time ago, NASA JPL released a series of delighfully-retro themed posters envisioning places in the Universe ... including our own, warm, commodious Earth ... as vacation destinations. The series is called Visions of the Future, and they're all available at the site http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/visions-of-the-future/ and all the images are free for the downloading. You can print them as you wish, use them for wallpaper, or whatever.

Your tax dollars at work, Earthling. I, for one, heartily approve of everything from the idea to the implementation to the lush graphics. JPL has hit a home run here.

But what if you don't want to bother with printing them, for whatever reason? Maybe you don't have access to large-format printing, or maybe you'd like to have them in some other form than inkjet? Not to worry, Major Matt Mason; Vivyx printing is charging quite reasonable rates to print them for you. The print charges start at $2.50 by the each for the economy paper in the 12"x18" size but you can also have that in museum-grade canvas for at little as $12.25. If you want big and quality you can have that canvas print in 36"x54" size for $110.25.

The link here is https://www.vivyxprinting.com/nasa-jpl-posters.asp

08 March 2016

[map] Mars, As The Medieval Explorers Saw It

Well, naturally, there weren't medieval explorers on Mars, but there should have been, and with Eleanor Lutz' map, you can pretend there were. An excerpt:

The antique look is nailed exactly, precisely, and satisfyingly. Using authentic-looking fonts and a razor-sharp eye for the style, Eleanor has lovingly recreated the style of medieval mapmakers on a world that's never seen humans, complete with hints as to name origins and official looking seals denoting probe landing sites, with portolans emanating from them for the win. Forming the basement to the art is official NASA photos of Mars to help fix the artistic geography to the real, and tie the whole look together.

Eleanor is a PhD student at the University of Washington whose passion is art and infographics; she's been published in various places including Popular Science and the International Business Times; and judging by her FAQ, she's a smarter person than I'll ever be … and she has the wit of a Karen Wynn Fonstad.

Her blog, where you can buy the above and get to know her work better, is TableTopWhale.com

(H/T to The Wife™)

[Out122ndWay] Mount Hood Picture-of-the-Day

No spectactular cast shadow … but when it comes to Wy'East, who needs any extra awesome?

The distant angle from NE 122nd and Shaver …

and extreme close up!

[caturday] The Happiest Calico In The Greater Portland Area

Call it #Caturday, deferred. I took this picture on Caturday, anyway. And Taffy, the girl calico, is wandering around the studio room, purring out loud and occasionally giving the little miaow that's saying I'm lonely but she has my undivided attention, I mean, she was purring out loud when she came in the room.

If you want to know what purrfect happiness is, here:

That is Pioneer Square Taffy.

07 March 2016

[pdx] Two More Reasons To Smile If You're A Portland Liberal Who Likes Print

Two things that have happened in the last week that should make you smile if you're liberal, a Portlander, into literature, or a liberal Portlander into literature (surprisingly, that's not all of us, campers).

The first thing is that The New Republic, the 102-year-old journal of liberal thought and opinion, is now essentially a Portland immigrant, but its mentor is a good one. Win McCormack, who ran the legendary Oregon Magazine back in the day and currently helms Tin House Press and is one of the greatest literary figures Oregon has produced latterly, bought TNR out of the hell of 'vertically digital integration' that Chris Hughes was moving it into. The Wall Street Journal reports:
When announcing his intention to sell the publication, Mr. Hughes said finding a sustainable business model for the magazine had proven elusive. But he says he believes that Messrs. McCormack and Fish are the right people to lead the publication forward.
“I had many conversations with qualified candidates, and of those I ultimately concluded that Win McCormack and Ham Fish are those stewards. Their backgrounds in journalism and progressive politics make them uniquely qualified to lead such a historic institution,” he said in a statement.
When you're looking to give a liberal magazine a proper home, going with an actual liberal is always the best way, I think it's axiomatic to say.

The other notable thing that should make every good liberal happy is that the Oregon Center for Public Policy is moving its office to the center of the big-time. I like saying that the OCPP are the policy geeks The Oregonian thinks they're talking to when they talk to the Cascade Policy Institute. That is to say, when Soylent News™ goes for some reasonable political voice, they think they've found it in CPI but, as usual, they're wrong about that.

This can only be good news for the OCPP, as Chuck Sheketoff's voice has been gaining much strength around here and of the two big voices, OCPP is much much more on the side of working Oregonians of all types and those of us who think we're a community rather than those of us who see the Oregon economy as some sort of Thunderdome.

And if you'd like to work for OCPP and have the mad office skills, there's a position for Office Manager open: http://www.ocpp.org/2016/03/03/2016-office-manager/

06 March 2016

[pdx] The Sellwood Bridge Opening, Part VI: The Fire Boat's Salute

I've seen this sort of thing in many celebrations on TV, of course. This is the first time I can remember ever being a witness to it.

After the parade, one of the Portland Fire Bureau's boats gave us all that particular version of the high-five that is so much fun to watch. When the gouts started, we all ran to that side and started firing off the shots, cool spray wafting back our direction.

First, it was water-colored …

Then it was the old red-white-and-blue …

… then, of course, they ran out of toner …

Then it was back to water-colored again.

A little disappointed that there was never the Cascadian green-white-green, but I'm not complaining. It was nifty.

[pdx] The Sellwood Bridge Opening, Part V: The Parade

I told you all that I had an armload of photos. The opening was a week ago now and I'm still sharing, which goes to prove that not only does writing about your world makes the good things stretch out, but there can indeed not be too much of a good thing.

As the opening ceremony concluded, it was time for the parade to begin. This being a bridge, a bridge is about people and about traffic and the traffic it was going to carry … and that was what the parade was about. Delightfully short, but full of delights for the eye, especially if you liked the cars.

First, this lovely brown vintage early 40s Ford. The fellow in the front seat is Commissioner Jules Bailey, whose face I missed because I wasn't quite on-point that moment, but hopefully the artfully-designed fashionably-stubbly beard leaves no doubt. File under Great Moments in Amateur Event Photography. 

This next photo is of a Chrysler Imperial, year indeterminate to me but certainly mid-late 60s. The passenger in the front seat there is County Commissioner Judy Shiprack. The finish is wonderful, but I didn't realize until I was right up beside it that those blue-toned waves aren't paint … they're beads, like the beads on the souvenir native American crafts that we used to see around the house growing up. The gray stripe seems to be made of smooth river rocks. It's not a custom car so much as it's an art-car.

The licence plate, Washington-state, reads 5MILES.

This sweet little job, a classic Pontiac Firebird, is not only a flat-out cherry bomb, but the Oregon plate reads DRAGUN. So it's got a kick-ass attitude to match the style.

Nothing too notable to add about this lovely classic Chevy Camaro Super Sport, but that's only because it's flawless. 

Since this is Portland, food-carts represent. Cartlandia is the one on SE 82nd Avenue at the Clackamas-Multnomah county line.

In about a decade or so, the Tesla will probably become as iconic around here as Subarus are now. And so they go.

TriMet represented, of course, and for a very special reason …

… with the completion of the new bridge, cross-Willamette service returns to the Sellwood area with the routing of the Line 99-Macadam/McLoughlin line over the new span. Currently, the 99 routes into Sellwood via SE 17th Avenue, SE Bybee Blvd, SE 13th Avenue and thence down SE Tacoma St to McLoughlin. With completion of the bridge, the route will be much truer to its name, and it'll be the first service connecting directly from Johns Landing into Sellwood since the days of the old Line 40.

A unit from the Portland Fire Bureau, always a crowd-pleaser.

The Bridge People.

And, bringing up the bitter end, the extraterrestrial marching band, in all their white-clad, punky-styled, unabashed and thoroughly delightful glory.

The Transcendental Brass Band, which I picted in the first chapter of this epic, also made a spirited appearance.

I didn't really catch the name of this ensemble. But I loved the act.

A parade well-done.

[pdx_history] KATU Throwback Video … Portland, 1983

The illustration on the right is a screencap from a wonderful video posted by The Deuce which is a 2-minute sequence of time-lapse shots taken in 1983.

The video is wonderful and heartbreaking. The mid-80s is when I started being a full-time Portlander (I've always been an Oregonian, but though I was born in Silverton my heart moved to Portland at an early age), and many, many scenes in here tug at the heartstrings … the tug pushing a barge under the Hawthorne Bridge … time lapse trips inbound on Canyon Road and the Banfield Freeway …

It is more than a little awkward and forlorn to realize that the images of ones kid-days are attaining the same patina that old photos one saw at that time had when one saw them then.

The video is at KATU's website: http://katu.com/news/videos/katu-throwback-to-portland-in-1983

04 March 2016

[pdx] The Sellwood Bridge Opening, Part IV: The People of the Bridge

A bridge opening day is a day for people as much for the bridge … if only that you're not going to get annihilated by a car. When I was a kid, and I asked the perennial "When is it Kid's Day?" of my Mother on or around Mother's Day, I got the answer "Every other day is Kid's Day".

Well, every other day on the Sellwood Bridge is Car Day. Today, it's People's Day. And, to prove it, here are some people …

Some people who play in a group called the Transcendental Brass Band…

Some people who want to cross the road at the west end of the Sellwood Bridge, with a people who is as crisp and efficient as she was friendly …

Some people who were friendly, affectionate, knee-high, furry, and liked a scritch behind the ears …

… a throng of people, dogs, and bikes, who were enjoying a bit of history and a day which was, not long before, a late February Oregon rain …

The dog people and their dogs were out in force today. You may have heard that Portland has, in its way, gone to the dogs, and that's true from what we saw. They were all terribly nice, well behaved and friendly.

So were the people.

Here's a people who seemed to be gathering signatures for one of Oregon's relentless petitions. Jaded me, I didn't press in for a signature (with the recent history of signature gathering organizations in Oregon, which isn't as nice as it should be, I find out my issue and then go looking for the petition), but he seemed nice enough and stayed unguarded long enough for me to get a moment in his time:

If you really want to feel connected to others in that way we really all are, go to a place like this and look beyond yourself, and you'll realize that the people around you are, in an essential way, just as you are … a human with wants and needs, fears and hopes, bad days and good, ambition and laziness and wins and  losses. I started to feel that then, and every time I look at these pictures, the feeling touches me back.

There were important and inspiring people. I was fortunate enough to nearly bump into Chuck Currie and his family and his dog saying hi to our U.S. Senator, Jeff Merkley …

And, just the other side of them, Multnomah County Sheriff's Deputy Taber, and I don't care what anybody says, this dude had the awesomest hair of anyone there (and, I just now noticed, there's Chuck and Senator Jeff behind him …

Deputy Taber's colleague, Deputy Cortana, was just plain cool as well.

We Portlanders are attentive, too. With the city as a background we gave our focus to the dignitaries that were there …

… and, while the oration was actually rather good, the highlight, and the reason I wish I had sound recording, was this guy:

… who one should recognize as City Commissioner Steve Novick, who was by far the most entertaining, bringing his trademark wit to bear and, noting that while 80 per cent of the trips over the Sellwood originated in Clackamas County, not one spondulix of construction money came from there, made a full throated call for invading Clackamas County and occupying it until the proper tribute was paid … and then admitted that maybe it wasn't such a good idea, as they had many more guns than we did.

Hey, we're Portland. We roll peacefully, yo. Haters gonna hate.

The next two pictures … this one …

… and this one …

… just speak for themselves, I think. The city and the people who make it up, without whom Portland would just be a collection of extremely attractive and well-made buildings. They are we and we are us and we are at a fortunate moment in time, we Portlanders, I think. This time is fraught with anxiety and despair for those who are struggling and maybe for everyone else too but something about the moment made the impression upon me that everything is still possible, even in these times.

In a city where some of the residents dress as bridges, what can't we do together?