30 November 2004

[pdx_geography] A First Look At Damascus's City Limits

The following pictures was clipped out of, and slightly altered by me, from the PDF of Damascus's incorporation petition which is available to any member of the public who wishes to view it from the Committee for the Future of Damascus website:

The document includes a map of what was then to be proposed as the city's corporate area. Remarkably, the original concept for the City was to extend it all the way along Highway 212 to Interstate 205, including the commercial and industrial district along that road and the area around the intersection of SE Highway 212 and SE 82nd Drive, historically the center of the area we call the community of Clackamas (I find that most people presume the area around SE 82nd Avenue and Sunnyside Road, adjacent to Clackamas Town Center, as the center of Clackamas. Insofar as commercial activity goes, that may be correct. It wouldn't be the first time a commercial district in an Oregon 'town' has migrated. But Clackamas, historically, is the intersection of Hwy 212 and 82nd Drive. Look that up in your MacArthur. Digressionary brackets end here!)

Anyway, I clipped the document out and Photoshopped in a blue line. The mileage scale is still there so you have an idea of how big the area acutally is. I eyeball it as somewhere in the ten-to-fifteen square mile range. The area is said to contain about 12,000 residents, putting it, as a community of size, somewhere between Newberg (about 17,000) and Dallas (about 9,000). The blue line excludes all areas crosshatched out as "Not Included", therefore, as I interpret this document, that blue line is most likely the new official city limits of Damascus, Oregon.

Note, to the left, how neatly Damascus forms an expansion limit for the City of Happy Valley (so much for Happy Valley's dreams of world domination). We can begin to see how big Happy valley can eventually get. Also notable is the omission of the Boring commercial center and its adjacent area (on the right margin of the map, where Richey Road intersects Highway 212). On the south it just touches the Estacada-Carver Highway (State Hwy 224), on the northeast it contact US 26, but just for a short distance. The northern boundary, with one exception on the northwest corner, is the Multnomah-Clackamas county line, thus hemming Gresham in on the south.

The historic community center of Damascus is the area where Highway 212, SE Foster Road, and SE Sunnyside Road all come together, in the lower left hand area of the city territory. Like many Oregon cities, Damascus is off center.

The most intriguing (and in its quiet way, exciting) is the parts that are crosshatched off. The envisioned extension along Highway 212 toward I205 really gets me thinking about what happened there. At what point was it decided that that area wouldn't make the cut? What factors contributed to the sketching in of those lines? Was there overwhelming opposition in that area of the Sunrise Corridor? And perhaps the coolest thing of all was the fact that this was sketched in by hand at some point in the process. They decided to make a change perhaps at the last minute. Attention wonks: this is not just process, this is change in process, a decision point captured in time. In its own small way, that was history being made. We shouldn't be surprised, I suppose, that in the future, when Damascus thinks to annex land (as cities do from time to time) that they will reach westward toward the freeway.

28 November 2004

[world_politics] The US Acknowledges Election Fraud

Quite an interesting story. After wide evidence of voter fraud and a tainted election, the people (upon whose trust any system truly "of the people" must depend and must be given wholeheartedly) rise up in peaceful protests nationwide. The Supreme Court, taking stock of the situation, proposes an investigation. The legislature issues a vote of no-confidence (non-binding, but hey) in the results. There is word in the air that the elections may be rerun.

Of course, my oh-so-dear commentary above is how the state of the union in Ukraine is going. The Bush Administration, apparently with a straight face, has sternly lectured Ukraine on getting its act together.

Understand this: it doesn't matter whether or not Kerry was denied a rightful victory in Ohio and Florida, at least not in the end. What does matter is that the voting system in our country is full of opportunities for corruption and deceit, from unverifiable "black-box" voting, to challenging of legally-regsistered voters, to Deibold being in the breast pocket of the Bush administration.

The real big deal is that people just shrug and go on when they hear of dodgy voting procedures and elections officials who have conflicts of interest.

I mean, what're ya gonna do in a country where there are such things as "free speech zones"?

27 November 2004

[sundial_life] Notes From the Fray

Olympian Struggle Continues.

At this point Dino Rossi will be certified the winner of the Washingtonian Gubernatorial contest. After a legally-sanctioned recount he's ahead by the incredibly ironic margin of 42 votes.

Christine Gregoire hasn't given up the ship however. The point of contention is the ballots in King County that would most likely go to her, which were rejected due to machine errors (at least that's the way I understand it). It's her right to take it to the courts...any Republican would do the same, sauce for the goose and all.

Shoulda Told The Mom[tm]

Finally got enough free time to fire off an email to my The Mom[tm], who gently hit the roof when I let on that I was in the hospital for three days with the infection without letting her know. Miffed for good reason. That's the problem with crises I have, I submerge myself in them and don't communicate out.

You Can't Get There From Here

Was late to TCWMNBN last night. My route in, the Banfield freeway, was closed at its accesses from I-205/Stark/Washington, forcing me to go up to the Sandy Blvd interchange and then into town. Figured I could get on the slab at Sandy Blvd/Hollywood district, but no, it was closed there too.

There was apparently a nasty-ass accident at about the 33rd Avenue overpass. Car rolled over, probable fatality. The Law saw fit to close the Banfield in both directions from 33rd Avenue out to I-205, and didn't mention it until 22:00, after I would have been at The Job if I would have been there on time.

As Tom Weller once said, Almost any misfortune is preferable to a worse one.. So true.

24 November 2004

[nw_politics] So What's The Big Deal About A Recount?

Hell, in Ohio and Florida, you'd think you're asking them to build a 1:1 scale replica of the Great Wall of China.


With a spoon.

But up in Washington, they're just recounting. And except for one instance where Repubicans sued to prevent King County votes from being counted (on the dubious premise that because the counting machine rejected them they weren't even worth being reviewed), it's gone smoothly, without obvious problems, and largely civilly.

Rossi and Gregoire are behaving themselves as well.

Why couldn't we get to the bottom of the voting frauds in Florida and Ohio this way as well?

It's not a matter of whether or not the results would overturn the election. Not at all. The point is, if there is even the hint of fraud...by intention or by accident, if votes are being thrown out due to 'iffy' circumstances, if absentee votes (including those from overseas from servicemembers who are, presumably, fighting to ensure our way of life continues) are not being counted for whatever reason, then why should I have any faith in the process or the results?

The Democrats and progressives are agitating for recounts-and getting it in Ohio. The Republicans owe it to us as a nation to make the field such that valid recount complaints are getting thier proper redress. As it is, I'm under the impression that the Republican party holds me, as a voter, in contempt until it wants my vote, and after that it's back to normal.

A properly facilitated recount, that would banish any question of fraud, would go a long way toward my assuming good faith on the part of the Republican party.

Hell, they did it in Washington.

23 November 2004

[us_life] Your New Corporate Masters

I once said to my The Wife[tm], after watching something about big business, that I thought that Business would be the downfall of America.

This link will lead you to a story, copyright WESH TV-Channel 2 in Orlando, Florida. The shorter version is this: customers of a certain homebuilder in Central Florida signed contracts to take posession of thier homes. These contracts were a sort of Trojan horse however; they contained a provision that prohibited residents from complaining to anyone at all about badly constructed homes. Not the electronic media, not letters to the editor, not picket signs, not even discussing it with your neighbors. And they are suing thier customers to make sure they know who's in charge here.

It gets better. A group of similarly-aggrieved homeowners had an informal gathering to discuss thier situation...and the company sent a spy to make sure they knew who to go after.

This is appalling. This is why corporations need regulation. People shouldn't have to be expected to be on the lookout for people trying to get them to sign contracts that are intended to make them give up constitutionally-protected freedoms. Such bad-faith on the part of the home builder should not even be countenanced in a moral society.

Free-market kool-aid (amongst others) tell themselves, smugly, that the inherent benefits in ethical behavior are attraction enough for corporations to practice it. A lifetime of being the little guy has taught me opposite; once a business gets big enough, they see you as nothing more than something to control and to pay them what little money you got.

It's going to be a bumpy ride. Watch your connections, scrutinize your contracts, and-all else being equal-refuse to do business with people who won't let you read what they expect you to sign.

Of course, as far as I'm aware, you can't give up your constituional rights in a contract. But do you think these people, who have hundreds of thousands of dollars in future revenue already committed, have the money to fight? Would you?

(NB:Alerted to this travesty by a post at Atrios' blog Eschaton during a daily read)

21 November 2004

[volcano] New Summit ETA

Interesting speculation from the volcano watchers.

First came the estimate that, if the dome growth continues unabated at the current rate, that Mount Saint Helens should regain its 9,677-foot pre-eruption summit height in about a decade, give or take one or two years.

Lately that's been refined. The new word is, that if the dome growth continues at its current rate and does not taper off, residents with a Portland/Vancouver point of view should see it peeking over the rim of the crater in about two years' time.

An' how about that, hey?

I was thinking about the shape and form of the cone, crater, and dome, and realized that we've seen something like this before. It occurs to me that Mount Vesuvius has, with a bit less of the old cone shell, a profile more or less similar to that of Saint Helens.

It will be interesting to see this lava dome resolve into a composite-style shield. Looks like we'll all be learning a lot more about geology before this one's done.

20 November 2004

[beavos_rule] The Game's Over With Eight Minutes To Go

The Ducks have pretty much folded up. Save some unenvisionable deus ex machina, its...put a fork in 'em, friends...they're done.

With about eight minutes to go in regulation play:

Beavers 50 Ducks 21

The Ducks are having thier backsides handed to 'em on a plate. OSU has scored more points than in any CW ever.

And, according to the radio, Duck fans and Beaver fans are starting to wander out of Reser.

These Beavers are a freaking miracle. From a 1-4 start they will finish 6-5, and go to the Sun Bowl. The Ducks are going...home.

Thank God for Derek Anderson.

The announcers are giving those "good sports" praises to the Duck quarterback. The Ducks are playing still, mostly because you don't leave the game before it's done.

[beavos_rule] It's The Third Quarter...

Yes, I knew I said no more posts until after the game, but hot damn! Duck turnover, Beavos take posession after a high-school-grade punt of 4th down, marches downfield to another TD!

Beavers 41 Ducks 21

Momentum is going OSU's way. They're just about to the tipping point where we can say the Ducks have no hope.

But there's still a quarter and a half to go. Miracles are possible.

But that sound the Ducks are probably hearing is El Paso...getting farther and farther away.

The Vitalis SunBowl? They still make Vitalis?

Ducks ball. 4th and 10 at the Beavo 45.

Looks like a good day to be a Beaver.

[beavs_rule] Oregon Tries To Even It Up

Oregon just made a touchdown, aided by a Beav foul. Now Beavs 20 Ducks 14, a 1 posession game, about a minute and a half left in the half, each has 3 timeouts to burn. There'll be more scoring before the half. Beavers have the ball. 3rd and 9 on from thier own 29.

They both want this one, bad. As they should

This'll be the last post on this until after the end of the game. I've got drawing and artwork to do, Dreamweaver work to do, and I still have to get cleaned up.

Ohhhkay, too much sharing.

[beavs_rule] TOUCHDOWN BEAVERS!!!!

Right now it's Beavers 20 Ducks 7.

It has been a hell of a game. And we're only part the way through the first half.

[or_cities] Damascus Roads, or There's A New Town In Town

Something that kind of slipped by in the election day circus is that Oregon has a new city now.

Of course, few cities are actually new. What happened is a group of voters approved a city government to be established which then draws a line around a given area and has authority within that area. The last time this happened was in the 1980s, when a group of people in the urban fringe adjoining Salem on the north finally rendered the unending annexation debate academic. Today, Keizer is a city of about 35,000. Keizer existed long before then, an exurban area centering on the intersection of River Road N and Chemawa Road, but it became a "City", which means a government, control over thier own concerns, and clout of some degree on the political landscape of the region.

Now, we have the City of Damascus, Oregon. Damascus is an area with an approximate center at the spot where State Highway 212 and the bitter ends of SE Foster Road and SE Sunnyside Road converge. It's about 20 miles ESE from Portland city center, as the crow flies. It's been a community since before the turn of the 20th Century, but in an effort to secure some control of its own destiny, a majority of the residents have approved the formation of a city of about 3,000 population.

I like studying cities. It's an outgrowth of my fascination of maps and extends to fascination on growth, patterns of settlement and the shape of the city limits, and how town look at themselves and out at the world around them.

There is, at the present, very very few pariculars on what, exactly the City of Damascus is. No map of the proposed corporate territory, nothing. So I'm frustrated right now, but I've not given up.

But if you follow this link, you'll be taken to an AP story on the KATU website that sums it up just as good as anything else I've found.

[sundial_life] Beavs vs Ducks: Civil Thermonuclear War

There are people who know about this already; The Civil War, Oregon's annual big-college signature rivalry, is setting to get underway. I'm listening on KEX. The pre game show is in full swing.

I am bored silly by sports, except for one thing; Beaver football. One of my many misadventures was an attempt to become an IT professional by attending OSU and majoring in Comp Sci. This was back before they even called it "IT"; everyone studying CS at that time called themselves 'programmers'. But I digress.

This was the early '80s, when OSU was a basketball powerhouse (although never able to get a title, and flirted with #1 in about 1981, I think it was) and the football program was a joke without the funny part attached. Who remembers Joe Avocado...er, Avezzano? I sure do. Mad Magazine joked that OSU and Northwestern should be scheduled to play a game in the Rose Bowl just so the two teams could get a look at the inside.

Despite the fact I never came anywhere close to graduating, OSU got under my skin and remains there to this day. And now, how times have change; the Beav basketball program is hardly the giant that it was, and football...wow. Five bowl games in six seasons. While OSU hasn't quite yet grown into the promise it has showed over the past six years, the Beavs seem to be getting taken a lot more seriously than they used to be.

The Civil War, of course, is the proverbial horse of a different color. I remember, back in the '90s, OSU had a certain pitiful, pathetic season. No wins at all going into the Civil War. They won that one, though, and the next day the Corvallis Gazette-Times had, in 144-point red across the top of the page WE OWN THE STATE! You'd of thought they'd had a winning season. A Civil War victory can make up for a lot of pain.

Anyway, and to bring this back on course, this Civil War is huge. See, two weeks ago, OSU had two games in front of it and had to win both of these last two games to get a bowl invite. UO, on the other hand, had two games and only had to win one.

Then OSU beat Stanford, and UO lost to USC.

Now we have two teams with everything on the line. Not just the state bragging rights, but instead of a winner and loser this time around, one team's season ends today. One team goes on to a bowl, and the other goes home and into history as The One Who Lost.

This is going to be one heck of a game.

It's gut-check time, guys. I'm, of course, for the Beavs.

18 November 2004

[art] Lessons In Life Drawing

Drawing is an interesting beast. Everybody I know wants to do it, almost nobody I know thinks they can.

I believe that, exclusive of natural inclination, desire, or skill, just about anybody can draw (natural inclination meaning aptitude, skill meaning raw ability, and desire meaning, of course, whether or not it's something you really want to do).

The act of drawing is nothing more or less than putting marks on some media (in the main paper, though with the right tool you can draw on anything) with some other media (usually ink/pen and/or pencil/graphite, but you can 'draw' with watercolor, oils, charcoal, &c, &c).

What I find is people get hung up on is that they want to produce something finished. This is understandable in an ineffable way. Since aspiring artists I've known, in effect, want to be able to draw to the skill level they see themselves doing already, they feel as though it's not worth bothering.

And that's a point, actually. It speaks to the 'desire' aspect I mentioned previously. Being able to draw-to create art-is a noble thing. You don't necessarily have to become a hyper-disciplined ascetic to acquire the skill. Some practice is required though. Ever notice how artsy-types carry around those black-covered sketchbooks? They're not full of finished, gallery-licious pieces. Artists try things, experiment, sketch in odd moments. They practice. It's a craft and they gradually master it.

You see, once you've tried something, whether or not it's successful, you've done it once. Since you've done it once, you can do it again. Even if it's a chain of 'failures' (unfair word if not for the context), something is gained from each attempt. We learn the ins and outs of our tools and media, and find what we like to use and find a little of our artistic voice that way. The more we attempt the less it intimidates.

A girl in watercolor class tried a quick self-portrait today. It wasn't the greatest thing, and she tossed it; point is, she did it. Once you've done something once you have some ownership of it. Hopefully she'll go back to it. She's a dance major though, not an art major, so that may not be up her street.

Like I said, desire. Some people are content to watch others create art; some aren't satisfied unless they are making it. It takes all kinds.

Now, I went down that road to go down this one...

At this point, with my experiences, I think what an artist, no matter what the intent or success level, brings to the process is knowing how to look. I was aware of this in my own explorations but with Life Drawing it's really started to gel.

Consider a face-your face, a photo, whatever. You've decided you'd really like to draw it. How do you go about it? How do you represent things?

There's two ways I've gone about it in the past. One is iconically, the other realistically. These are my terms. You may have others.

In the iconic way, we take a scene and attempt to reproduce it by inserting symbols. We think of everything in terms of line and shape. If you're drawing that face and you want to draw, for the sake of argument, one of the eyes, a beginner might lay in a symmetrical lens-shape, draw a circle in the middle for the iris and pupil, and bingo, there you have your eye. Draw another one for the other eye. A set of lines define the nose. The mouth and lips are simply and similarly drawn.

Now, the face has power and many people start with the face and work outward. They sense something isn't right, because...well, maybe the eyes are too far upward. The chin may or may not be the right shap, but the mouth is too close.

The result may be a drawing that may be a perfectly valid experession of art, but isn't what was intended. What was drawn wasn't what was seen but filled in; many things were taken from a standard stock of icons we all carry around inside our heads.

Let's start over with a clean sheet of imaginary paper (imaginary drawings are so much easier to clean up after) and, before we put a pencil to paper, take a few minutes to simply look at our model. Instead of paying attention to form as expressed by line, look for shapes defined by light and dark. One of my favorite places to get an idea of depth and dimension is the nose. We might note, here, that the line of the nose isn't so much defined by the edge of the nose as the edge of the nose is defined by the shadows cast in the orbit of the eye, that deep area between the eye and the bridge of the nose, and the bottom plane of the nose, where the nostrils are.

I've found, in fact, that placing the shadows and dark spots where they seem to belong and standing back fromt the result, the mind will fill in the details. Frequently, the ridge of the nose is close to the same value (lightness/darkness) as the cheek under the eye beyond it (YMMV wrt different lighting). If I fill in the dark values, the darker shapes that are actually there, my perceptive process will almost 'carve out' the other things that I know are there.

Like I said, the face is a powerful thing. Very magnetic.

Now, here's a little rule of proportion that originated with da Vinci, Duerer, and Michelangelo. It will help you place your facial features in the correct places every time.

Picture a fat oval. Draw a line down the center vertically and across the center horizontally. That horizontal line is where your eyes are. Did you know that they eyes are right across the middle of the head (Shannen Doherty notwithstanding)? Discovering this was one of my first points of departure into learning how to see. The mouth is half the distance between the eyes and the chin. The bottom planes of the nose are 1/3 the way up the head from the chin in the direction of the eyes (well, since it's your drawing, you can put the mouth in the forehead if you want, but keep well away from me, Hieronymous, you disturb me).

Between my self-study and my art study over the past three years, I've so far convinced myself that the trick, the real trick of drawing, beyond knowing your media, is drawing what you see. The real skill of an artist is knowing how to look

Here's a few book suggestions for those who are interested:

  • The Joy Of Drawing, by Bill Martin, 1993, Watson-Guptill. A witty, chatty, and brief book that's a basic drawing course. This book reawakened my love of drawing. It teaches shapes, perspectives, all sorts of basic drawing concepts in a friendly, non-intimdiating way. It's pure inspiration and I so love this book I have it with me wherever I go.

  • How To Draw What You See, by Rudy de Reyna, 1970 (ppb ed 1996), Watson-Guptill. Starts you off with the basic forms and shows you that many objects can be based on basic forms just about anybody can draw. Like Joy though it takes you in a bit more of an advanced direction; later chapters explore various media.

  • Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain, by Betty Edwards, Tarcher-Putnam. My edition is 1989 but it's periodically revised and doubtless an updated edition is out by now. Don't let the woodgy title and psychological slant of the beginning of the book put you off; it's mad popular and that's because it's good. Not only does it teach drawing it does so by enlightening the reader on how percpetions develop. Eventually you'll feel your thinking-approach change. This book helps everybody; if you want to draw but think you have no skill, it will open that door; if you want to improve your skill but don't feel as though you have a solid grasp, it'll help you comprehend.

As far as I know, all those books are availible through Powell's and/or Amazon.

17 November 2004

[pdx_life] Are You Ready For Your New, Fashionable District Name?

In case you haven't noticed, the wags and the fashionable set are coming up with new names for familiar places.

I'm not just talking about the awkwardly-named "Pearl District", or the non-historically named "West End". We're really going fashionable.

The area between NW Lovejoy St and the Willamette River has been loosely termed "NoLo". The insiders also know that it's short for North of Lovejoy.

The venerable north Portland peninusla is getting the hip, with-it term of "NoPo".

I think this is a cool trend. In keeping with stealing style from other places, slapping it on our own town and pretending that just by putting it here we've changed it in some ineffable way (hey, Mayor! Chicago called! They want thier motto back!). If stuffy old New York City can dress up the area South of Houston St by calling it SoHo or the Triangle Below Canal by calling it TriBeCa, why not our dowdy old lady? I think we can all look forward to seeing tres namechanges in all of our 'hoods! Visualise the glottal stop at the studly cap and follow along:

Hawthorne hipsters? Welcome to HaTho!

Gateway commuters? Your home should look less drab when you think of it as GaWa!

Mill Park-ers? Welcome to MiPa!-now even Baja Gresham can be cool!

Nobody still has any idea what to do with C.E.N.T.E.R.

Irvingtonians walk tall in IrTo.

Laurelhursters keep it real in LaHu.

Sellwood still doesn't have enough class and has to keep its old name.
Westmoreland can however adopt the quite slimming WeMo.

And the exurbs can join in too! A cow-orker moved recently from Tanasbourne to Lake Oswego. Although we can now say that he moved from TaeBo[1] to LaOs. Altho' he doesn't speak one SE Asian language....

[1] Yes, I know there's no e between the T and the B in Tanasbourne. It's artistic license. I can do this!

16 November 2004

[sundial_life] The Tik-Tok Empire Expands

Our favorite little 24-hour grotty pub and eatery, the Tik-Tok Around The Clock Restaurant And Bar at 112th and SE Division in Portland, has opened a new branch.

It's at 82nd and SE Powell, the restaurant that sits just behind the Seven Eleven store on the corner. That space has held many restaurants over the last decade, notably a branch of Tennessee Red's BBQ, a place calling itself Brix, and the SE location for a family restaurant based in Saint Johns called Our Daily Bread. All operators were notable for putting Oregon Lottery signs up front as a draw.

We'uns plan on going over there one of these days and seeing how the concept transferred. Don't know if the charm of the careworn little place on Division is there, but as long as they keep the formula of 24-hour operation, simple good diner fare, and friendly efficient bartenders up, I don't see how they can fail.

By the way, not long ago I asked Raelynn (the bartender) if she knew anything of the company's history. As it turns out, the Tik-Tok Around The Clock is not a successor in any way to the famous Tik-Tok drive in that was over by the Six Points at Sandy/12th/E Burnside years ago (in the age of places like Yaw's Top Notch). Presumably that's why the official name is different.

13 November 2004

[design] Pariah Burke on Quark 6.5

Pariah's commentary on the 6.5 release is well worth reading, if you care about such things. It covers all the bases.

[or_opinion] Steve Duin...

...gets it right again.

(Column from 4.Nov.04)

[art] On Regenerating Diaries and Sketchbooks

Before I came to 'blogging, I was an inveterate (not invertebrate) (look it up) diarist. I got addicted to it as part of a group of misfits in High School who were not unlike the "other" clique in the Safe Havens comic.

We fancied ourselves a great many things. At the time I fancied myself an 'arthur' (as we said down on the farm). I didn't know jack squat about the "examined life", and couldnt tell Pepys from Peeps. But I liked me my journal.

I've come a ways since then. I think I understand the thing about the examined life, though I don't quite grasp it yet. Also I gave up the "manly" conceit about calling it a "journal". I have fewer illusions these days. I keep/kept a diary.

I had a lot of thoughts about that as I opened an appropriately-sized blank book and started to write again. You see, my current diary volume (enclosed as it was in one of those nifty Oberon leather covers, retail about $60.00) was stolen out of the Subaru as well. I hope they enjoy...oh, never mind.

Anyway, I'm summarizing what happened lately in the first pages. I've not been the most faithful diarist, nor the most steady, but I've done it. The thing I think I have over other people who don't do this is, well, I own more of my past. I feel a little bit more immortal because that will survive me (The Wife[tm] would see to that).

I may be just 1/six billionth of humanity, but I do this thing.

I'm certainly no Pepys, but I'd never give it up. Even if someone steals the last volume I could ever do.

11 November 2004

[planet_politics] Generalissimo Yassir Arafat...

...Is now dead.

However, in view of his recent not-dead status, there will be a watch over the body. Stay tuned to world media for updates on his dead condition.

10 November 2004

[planet_politics] Generalissimo Yassir Arafat....

Is still not dead.

[meme] Catching Up: Two Saturday Slants on Wednesday

I must be getting over my illness. I'm creative enough to follow up to the last two Saturday Slants Pariah posted. I'll try not to make it too staccato.

Number 1, posted about last week, title: Naughty Little Impulse
What is your naughty little impulse never acted upon? Ever wanted to kiss your boss? Do you often feel like telling your mother-in-law that she’s a self-centered, controlling witch—over Thanksgiving Dinner? Do you sometimes feel the compulsion to pick up your man’s dirty socks, which are constantly strewn about the floor irresponsibly, and ball it into his sleeping, snore-opened mouth? Ever wanted to steal something just for the thrill of it? Or is your impulse more along the lines of seducing that hunk from the mail room? Tell us about some naughty impulse you’ve had—or have frequently—and the circumstances surrounding it. This is a classic Saturday Slant revisited from 42 weeks ago.
Well, I've never wanted to kiss my boss....ew.

Actually, I have wanted to steal something just for the hell of it. Or deface something. I'll explain.

All my life I've loved street signs. From the street 'blades' that identify the streets at intersections to that font they use on the freeway signs. Stems from my love of type I suppose but I've been making fake street directional signs ever since I was a kid. Still do as an adult.

There are two things I want to do that I've always had to restrain myself from. Number one:get a "classic" Interstate highway shield. You can tell these quite easily; for many years on both U.S. highway as well as Interstate shields, the standard was to emblazon the state name on the shield, usually above the number. In the case of the Interstate it would be in small caps centered in the top of the lower area, just below the dividing line.

It would be a fine thing to have one of these shields. But it's against the law. Stealing, don't ya know.

The other thing is to make 'edits' to street signs. Ever see those yellow diamond-shaped signs that simply say "PEDESTRIANS"? Wouldn't they be more fun if they said "PEDESTRIANS - 5 POINTS"?

Yeah, yeah, I know. It's all fun and games until somebody gets hurt.

Then, of course, it's just fun.

Number 2, posted two weeks ago, title: Worst Traveling Experience
Whether you were flying back home for the holidays, driving across town for aunt Liz’s wedding, or globe trotting for business, odds are good you’ve experienced something bad. Tell us about your most embarrassing or frustrating travel experience.
A loooong time ago, I was in the Navy. I was stationed in Orlando for training. Training concluded I loaded up my then-new car and started out on the road, driving all the way from Florida to Oregon.

I stopped by my then-stepsisters home in Pensacola for a night. Made note to self: Florida's big. Well, it may be only about 100 miles across, but it seems about 500 miles long. From there I drove across Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas and Missouri to Saint Louis.

See, I only had maybe two weeks to get back to Oregon, reconnect to family, then get back out to Idaho for training at a Naval facility out there. And I was already on day two. Tempus was fugiting like mad for me.

About the only thing I took time to do was take a picture of the Gateway Arch. And that film (actually it was one of those funky disc cameras that Kodak came out with in the '80s) was never developed and looong gone.

While I enjoyed the chance to be on my own for some 3,500 miles I had to kick out the jams and get on it so much that I pretty much speeded past all of everything I really ever wanted to see in America. My biggest memory is interminable miles of freeway and driving from Saint Louis, Missouri in two days. The last day was 24 hours of solid driving, from a place in the Nebraska panhandle called Sidney to Salem. I saw Memphis...from I-55. I drove within two miles of Graceland and didn't pull off to look. I took the I-84 cutoff around the northeast side of Salt Lake City, but never came within sight of the place-I've always wanted to see SLC, see the big Mormon temple there. There were snowstorms on the Utah-Idaho border and in the Santiam Pass on State Hwy 22, and I got to experience those-mind you, I was in a '80 VW Rabbit at the time.

I saw so much, but I missed so much more. And I may never have the chance to do that again.

Go to Saturday Slant Central:
The Saturday Slant - New Every Saturday Morning

09 November 2004

[planet_politics] The New Generalissimo Francisco Franco

Arafat's dead.

No, no, he's just resting.

No, he's dead.

Well, we know he's not. But we're going to be burying him just in case we're wrong.

What about his wife?

Well, we'd bury her too only she's in France.

You sure he's not dead?

He's sure acting dead.

But look there, his beard is still growing.


Alright then. Keep an eye on him. Definitely let me know if he moves.

What do we tell the world media?

I dunno. Whatever you want. Tell them he likes Halo 2. That'll keep 'em on thier toes.

[sundial_life] Things You Can Buy At An SF Convention

There's a neat place at OryCon. It's on the 2nd floor of the main part of the hotel, taking up 2/3rds of the big ballroom area (which is usually divided into three big meeting rooms by folding walls). They call it the "dealer's room" (tho' I overheard a man claiming himself a big convention veteran from yonks say they uster call it the "huckster room").

Objects range from the SF to the Wiccan to the SCAish. One good true friend is a man who goes by the name of Shane Harris, in the SCA as Ulf Magnusson. He's very good with metal, as witness below:

It's a hair clip; I like tying my hair back with something interesting and stylish (it's my only real pretention to style, actually). Clicky upon the image to view it larger. The business card will not resolve, so here's the information therein:

Redwolf ltd.
Historically Inspired Jewelry
Shane Harris www.redwolfltd.com (503)332-0832
33470 Chinook Plaza #164
Scappoose, OR 97056

I've made the relevant text into URL and mailto links. Now, the above beauty is $20, which may seem a lot for a hair clip, but when you get one of Shane's products, you get something that's not only stylish and beautiful but something that will last forever.

Fellas, thinking of a unique gift for your lady? Look no further. Anyone who has long hair needs these things. They're made in a variety of configurations and all have semiprecious stones as details (the above is blue agate). Hell, these rock for your own long hair, gents, if you're classy enough to have it, and you will draw compliments. This ugly duck usually does.

I also got another hair clip to replace the imported Siberian birch bark number I lost when our Subaru was entered. It's rectangular, though, not this lovely bouquet-curlique explosion that I loved, but it's good none the less.

Another product we acquired is a game called Chrononauts, by Looney Labs. They have several innovative games that are intensely habit forming, especially check out FLUXX. These are clever and engaging card games. They also have what must be the universal game-piece, called Icehouse pieces. They came up with this cool set of plastic pyramids to play a real time game with no game board, called Icehouse, and soon discoverehttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifd that they adapted themselves to a whole lot of invented games. They are cool people with an interesting outlook on life and you should buy much things from them. Your brain will thank you.

OryCon can empty your wallet. But you won't regret it. Where else can you get stuff this cool?

PS Note: The original title of this post was Things You Can Get At An SF Convention, but when I looked at it a second time, I reacted badly.

[germanophilia] An Important Anniversary:15 Years After The Wall

This seems apropos: 9.Nov.2004 is the fifteenth anniversary of the sudden opening off all checkpoints between the Russian and the Allied sectors of the German capital.

Amdist a welter of confusion and amid the breakdown of what was then the Deutsche Demokratsche Republik...or as we called it then, East Germany, checkpoints between East and West Berlin were suddenly thrown open.

While there would exist a Bundesrepublk Deutschland (West Germany) against a Stalinist-Communist eastern sibling for some months to come, this act put writing on the wall of the Egon Krenz-led regime. Soon enough, Germany would finally be a united nation for the first time in nearly 50 years.

Though the Berlin Wall itself would also persist for a while, it would no longer be a deadly barrier.

9.Nov.2004, The fall of the Wall. May our own walls fall, eventually.

Check out these links:

The German Information Center homepage, follow the big link on the front page.

Curious about getting a glimpse of Germany but don't feel inclined (or rich enough) to travel there? Cityscope has a selection of panoramic views of some of the greater German cities which are constantly updated.
See the construction of the new Regierungviertel including the Reichstag, view the newly reborn Pariser Platz (Paris Square)-the area immediately behind the Brandenburg Gate which, til the 90's, was a no-mans-land within the Wall's killing field. It's a document of space and time, where you can view the development of the biggest construction zone in the world-Central Berlin (follow the "City-Panorama" link in the navbar).

[volcano] Loo-wit Is A Growing Girl

This just heard on the radio: at the rate the new lava dome is growing, if it continues unabated at this pace, Mt St Helens will work itself back up to pre-18.May.80 dimensions, about 9700 feet in elevation at the summit, in about...10 years.

If. If it continues.

They really can't say.

08 November 2004

[or_politics] Cryin' Ron Saxton

Ah, pundits. How else can one make such a good living whilst knowing absolutely nothing?

So Ron thinks there should be a stronger Republican party in Oregon? (The link is to a opinion piece by him on the KATU-2 News website)

Oh, ai yi yi. This is why I have trouble respecting pundits.

The Democrats who were elected and re-elected were approved by remarkable majorities, I'd go so far as to say landslide. The problem with the Republican party in Oregon (as well as everywhere else) is that they think that a Democrat winning is prima facie evidence that the R candidate isn't good enough, and that electing a Democrat to anything is simply wrong.

It never occurs to the elite Republican mind that the Democrat may just be the better choice. The People (who Republicans are fond of lionizing when they back thier play) actually thought that the Democrats were pretty good folks, and deserved to go back and keep working.

And don't go on about the power of incumbency. This last election put the lie to that. Tom Daschle knows this all to well now. And despite the obscene amount that the national Republican party spent on Goli Ameri, her honor-free campaign still couldn't knock David Wu out.

No, Ron, we don't need a 'stronger Republican party in Oregon'. We're pretty happy with the Democrats we have. They actually do good work and most of us like them!

In case you ain't heard, Ron, your party pretty much runs the country now. So try to buck up.

For a while there, I thought Saxton was a Tom McCall-Vic Atiyeh Republican (the kind I'd actually consider voting for). Won't make that mistake again.

[sundial_life] Back From OryCon 26

Indeed, am back from OryCon26, looking ahead to 27. Did fairly alright despite leg bothering me.

Todd McCaffrey was there. Tall, biggish fella, resembles his mom, Anne, she of the Pern saga. I'm not a reader, but it looks very much as though Todd will take the franchise forward and, judging by The Wife[tm]'s reaction to the latest Pernography, he's probably going to to a bangup job.

The neat thing about SF Cons is that you come up against people who you idolize and who, to you are celebrities in thier own right, and you walk right up to them and realize that they are kind of like you, really. Except maybe Larry Niven and Harlan Ellison. No, strike that; Definitely Niven and Ellison. I think they are higher life forms.

Altho', in my time, I had the chance to kiss Ursula le Guin's hand when she 'graphed my omnibus edition of Earthsea Trilogy.

As long as OSFCI and OryCons exist, the world isn't completely, wrong, you know.

A couple of links to follow in another post, and more prattling guaranteed.

[us_politics] Democratic Party Customer Comment Card

Many Democrats got a party emailing inviting feedback. I answered but, due to fatigue, it was a bit rambling.

But here it is:

I think it's time for the old leadership to step aside. I want my party to be ready to take on and eat (literally, if necessary) any Republican who gets in the way. Our party is not being led well. The biggest example of this is the aftermath. It may have been proper for John Kerry to concede, but there is more than a hint of massive voter fraud. My party should be all over that like Repbulicans over oil profits, and it just isn't. Air America is leading the charge and the Black Box Voting Project has filed the largest FOIA request in history. The Democratic Party should be backing that.

Heck, I saw a distinct lack of support of Air America Radio, which did more to get me excited about being a Democrat again than almost anything the party did.

Mr McAuliffe, please consider stepping aside. You've presided over the a most astounding contraction of Democratic political power and the Republicans are gloating over it. Rove is bandying about casually the things he and his party are thinking of doing now that they feel they have decades of majority ahead of them. Do you feel any responsiblity? I think you ought to, you ought to do the honorable thing: step aside now and get new leadership in. ASAP.

And lastly but not leastly, OPPOSE! We are the loyal opposition. Remind the Republicans of this 24/7/365. Have our representatives vote on Democratic, liberal principle. Democrats are naturally leaders, but it's time to band together for the good of the party and against single-party rule in America.

Get going. Stop navel-gazing and fretting over what we should have done. Clear the decks. Or face being the permanent minority party.

And get on those e-voting machines and don't let up until they say uncle!

Well, at least I'm trying to. The DNC website isn't responding.


05 November 2004

[sundial_life] We Are On A Spree

Me and my The Wife[tm] will be attending our yearly habit, OryCon 26, which is all this weekend thru Sunday evening.

Will probably do the most basic checking in but, if I become famous somehow, I will alert the media.

After the election, the loss of Keeeton, and with the cellulitis, this will be a needed break.

[us_politics] Memo To The Democratic National Committee

Terry McAuliffe must go.

In my lifetime the Democratic Party, once the 800 lb gorilla in Washington, has undergone a contraction nothing short of astounding.

Who's the captain of this ship?

What the hell is he doing? Arranging the deck chairs?

If this was the Republican Party, his next job might well be close to "you want fries with that?". They'd clear the decks. Hard. Believe it.

Mr McAuliffe has seen my party through two horrible national experiences. I can't see him doing anything about it. We need someone at the helm who believes, is committed, and will eat the first Republican who tries to cross them and thier party.

He's not looking out for my interests.

One more time: McAuliffe. Must. Go. Now.

[sundial_life] Keeeton's Ashes

The original Hauptkatze, Keeeton, was cremated. This is standard for most pets I understand.

But this time, we were asked if we wanted the ashes. I don't know about The Wife[tm], but I was kind of gobsmacked. But we said yes.

We retrieved that yesterday, on a long errand run. It was so tastefully done. we have a very charming little wooden box with blank sides, suitable for a later-added plaque (or perhaps a certain photo), absolutely sealed. I expected maybe a laminated box or something.

His ashes are on a high shelf in the front room now. I place where we can remember and recollect.

He was, as they say, one hell of a cat.

[blog_life] Stand Back, I'm Growing Fast!

One New Link!

Rob Salzman blogrolled me after I permalinked to his article about draft, so I returned the favor: see "Blogging, Oregon Style" and click through to "About It All-Oregon".

I must say, I like the cut of his jib.

I Evolve!

With 2 unique links, I've moved up from Insignificant Microbe to Crunchy Crustacean in N.Z. Bear's ecosystem. See the very bottom of links.

04 November 2004

[or_politics] One Other Shaft Of Sunlight

Both the Oregon House and Senate are controlled by Democrats again. Hey, if it can happen at the State level...

My own rep, Jeff Merkley, is going to be a D leader in the next session. He's also one of the smarter guys. Sweet!

Correction: Apparently it's only the State Senate that will be D. 'Sokay. Right now I'll take whatever good news I can find.

[us_politics] If GWB Told The Truth About No Draft...

Then why are they doing this behind the scenes? (link to post at About It All-Oregon, please credit Rob Salzman for the sharp eye)

The truth is, a lot of things are happening behind the scenes that suggest there's going to be one. They're happening whilst GWB is swearing to God we won't have one.

Here's a happy little site that should provide some food for thought: enjoythedraft.com.

It's pretty irreverent. Here's the "just-the-facts" version of thier FAQ.

[or_politics] Winners And Losers

I'm thrilled that Tom Potter and Sam Adams won. Especially Tom.

I'm aware that there are people who are unhappy that Nick Fish didn't win. Keep your eye on Sam. I have a feeling he's going to make us all glad he won.

And I said before that if Nick runs again for council, he's gotten my vote. I mean it.

And even though Bush apparently won legitimately, I at least don't have to be ashamed of my own state, which is still Blue Oregon (apologies to the website).

Ecotopia, anyone?

The passage of 36 is a big shameful spot on everything though. We, the electorate in aggregate, did not do a good thing here. We wrote discrimination into the state Constitution, moreover, we-in-the-aggregate actually removed rights from a group of people who aren't really harming anything.

But, if you aren't on the same page with that sort of thinking, look at it this way; we have now made it concievable to remove rights of any group of people we choose to scapegoat. It's the Niemoeller Principle, of which I will refer thus to prevent the repetition of a quote many are no doubt doing now. Essentially spoken, as long as nobody is out to get "me", it's okay if someone is out to get "them" and gets "them". But since I didn't object to going out to get "them", they now know it's okay to go after various forms of "them". Eventually the "them" could become "me".

Actually, I don't know why I'm worrying. The real immediate result will be litigation (and isn't it nice that our state has money to toss around for that)(oh, wait, we don't). This is going to court. This will eventually get overturned because it's unconstitutional. I'm counting on it.

It's a real mean world now. Choose up what side you're gonna be on. It's going to be a rough ride for a few years.

[blog_life] Retiring Certain Links

The graphic link for the Electoral Vote Predictor and to the Kerry/Edwards campaign are being removed from the links list, for obvious reasons.

Tip of the hat to Andrew Tanenbaum, who came up with the most clever and interesting bit of civics information that have been published to the 'net for a long time.

Gratitude to Mssrs. Kerry and Edwards, who reminded me why I used to register Democrat, and compelled me to register Democrat again. I will remain Democrat until and beyond the date the next Democratic administration comes to power.

Stick it in your ear, Karl Rove.

[us_politics] The Best Man Didn't Win

It won't be the first time I've been contrarian.

We got the greater of two evils, if evils they be. George W. Bush has prosecuted his war of choice as ineptly as anything. He's gotten away with being for the troops even as he denies them proper equipment, refuses to adequately pay them, and even (through surrogates) blames the troops for the loss of the high-explosives as al-Qaqaa.

We have a President who is in favor of removing your right to overtime pay.

We have a President who was against the 9/11 commission...until he was for it.

We have a President who was saying we'd win the war on 'terror', and then said we couldn't, and then said he could.

We have a President who swears he won't reinstitue the draft, and won't...until he has to.

There were very likely problems with the electronic voting machines in Ohio and Florida. There will never be an investigation of this. There is no paper audit record.

We have a President who presided over the first actual loss of jobs since Herbert Hoover. As a matter of fact, if you aren't one of the rich elite, your upward mobility has been handicapped more and more.

What's more, we have a President who acts like a common man. He's never been a common man. The bottom line is, that a man who showed little character until he was 40 won out over a man who's shown nothing but character.

People who have nothing but contempt for "the common man" have apparently been approved of by "the common man". But were they really? Do people wait on line for six to eight hours to approve the status quo?

I learned at an early age that honest and smart people are usually made out to be chumps, and fortune seems to favor the not-so-bright and not-so-ethical. It would really seem that nothing has changed.

I reserve the right to not be happy about the outcome of this election. At least while it's still legal to do so in public.

02 November 2004

[design] QuarkXPress 6.5 Has Been Released!

Just found on the Quark, Inc. website: the QuarkXPress 6.5 Updater is available for download. It is also available on a CD-ROM, which can be ordered.

The QuarkXPress 6.5 upgrade is free to all registered 6.0 and 6.1 users. This, from Quark, is more that just a 'very good price'.

At 156MB, though, it's a bit much for me to download, and I won't be anywhere near a broadband link, so I ordered up the CD-ROM. They're shipping that for no additional cost as well.

Drawback: mail ETA is 6-8 weeks out. So it'll be a little while yet. However, I will get it, I will install it, and I will report on what I find.

[us_politics] We Did The Deed

Voted. Our ballots are down at the county elections office, dropped off into the hands of a friendly volunteer who stood out in the rain on SE 11th Ave between Morrison and Belmont. Only way to do it this time.

Stars, am I suspicious. This is the kind of country we've become; I completely believe that there is a hit-squad of thugs out there who'd love to tear open my envelope and, once they see it has a vote for Kerry/Edwards on it, make it go away. And why shouldn't I? When you have squads of Republicans ready to challenge voters in Ohio just because they might vote blue rather than red, you know that they playing field is about as fair and balanced as Fox News's coverage or Lars Larson's viewpoint on nearly anything.

Like I said, we voted blue. We also voted Democratic for the state offices (Bradbury, Myers, Edwards). I feel that the challengers have a case to make against voting for the incumbents. To me, hell, that's at least half the definition of challenger right there. The best thing the state Republicans can come up with is a ghost-story negative commerical saying how they were clubby with Goldschmidt. WoooooOOOOOOooooOOOO, scaAAAAAaaaaAAAAry.

Mere coincidence that Election Day is so close to Hallowe'en? I think not.

Voted for Potter. Francesconi impressed me negatively from the first. From his slickly-polished "you know you're going to vote for me" first run, from his reinvented, studied "man of the people" second go. I look at it this way; if your first run didn't work, and you reinvent yourself to be more palatable, then you care more about marketing yourself than actually serving and, as far as I'm concerned, you've gone from public servant to cynical resume-filler. Maybe Jim has good ideas. I'm not convinced he cares more about his ideas than he does being Mayor.

It's more than an anti-Francesconi vote though. I was impressed by Potter's campaign donation limits. I was baffled by his stealth campaign but have come to accept it as his ace-in-the-hole, although I don't quite know how it works out, it greatly impresses me. He has a lot of support and it's despite the fact that he hasn't run a campaign of any profile. And Howard Dean likes him. I liked him when he was Police chief (that bit over the jaywalkers not withstanding).

I voted for Sam Adams. I'm of the camp that it would be nice if there were two open Council seats, that I could vote both for Fish and Adams. I liked Sam when he was Vera's chief of staff, I appreciate inside experience and I think that's what we need right now. Nick, run next time a seat opens up. I'll vote for ya, buddy. Promise.

Selected comments about the other stuff:

Voted against the "Marriage" amendment. We have bigger problems. It will hurt people whether or not they are gay. I'm also against encoding the Bible as civil law. Some think no doubt it would be nice to take some terrible, swift sword and make everybody Christians who agree on everything, but that's not ever going to happen. Hell, there are disputes even amongst Christians over which version of dogma or doctrine is worthy (and if you think all Christians are one big loving fellowship, just ask a fundamentalist what's to become of Catholics. Naturlich, I disagree). Civil law should be secular. Period. If you want to see what a good Church background does to a government, look no further than Iran.

Voted against disembowling SAIF. Let's call it what it is: it's Liberty Northwest going to take out a rival. They can't compete, so they go this route. I'm not going to help Liberty Northwest play dirty. Also, I'm not convinced that the sweet light of competition and lower workers comp rates will be shed on the Original Beaver State. I think they're just saying that to get me to vote for it. Also, I'm told, because of the way workers comp is done in Oregon we already have some of the lowest rates around. Low worker's comp rates is...good for business.

My State rep-Jeff Merkley. Democrat, rising star, generally credited as lively, intelligent, and quick.

My County commish-Lisa Naito. She was a fool, but McCarty is an imbicile.

Yes on Wyden and Blumenauer. This is a no-brainer.

Two people I would vote for if I was in thier districts:

David Wu in the 1st District. Has Goli Ameri had anything elsel to say about him besides harping on the indiscretion of 28 years ago? She stands for two things: defeating Wu and being a good little Republican. At least Wu cares for his district. Goli is this close to being a red-hack.

And will someone tell Ron Sunseri to take his ball and go home already?

That's it. That's all. Tomorrow evening it's Election Night Pizza. Should be exciting.

01 November 2004

[sundial_life] Borg Implant Removed

The P.I.C.C line is gone. It stayed in over the weekend; today the home-care nurse came in and removed it. They are glorious, these people. They tell me it's going to feel odd, then when I look, the deed is done. They have the touch of the butterfly, they do.

My current medical and emotional situation indicates that withdrawing from the two art classes I worked so hard to get into may be the sensible way to go. I don't know that that will do to my GPA, not yet anyway, but the money spent will be gone.

That's something I hate most of all.

Actually, I'm kind of seesawing. The first step is talking to the instructors and seeing if they have some sort of program they can put me on that will catch me up or at least show that I've learned what I need to have learned. I'm going to try and speak with my advisor over the phone and find out if withdrawal is indeed the best thing to do.

Tough choices.