Saturday, December 31, 2005

special powers

We were talking about the movie Firestarter the other day, you know the one that came out in the 80’s based on the Stephen King book. It starred a young Drew Barrymore as the title character. I haven’t seen that movie lately, but have seen it several times when it was fresh on cable TV, and remember this much about the movie: Drew Barrymore’s character’s parents met and fell in love at a research facility that was giving people experimental drugs, or maybe some of these people had E.S.P. already, I’m not clear on that part. Anyway these two people meet and fall in love, and after the experiment is over they hook up and get married, and have a young kid who possess a special power all her own, which is causing things to spontaneously combust. I guess it’s better then having no special power at all, but it’s kind of lame, really, you are kind of limited with the things you can do. If I had that power, I’d probably go camping a lot. I’d be all the rage in my social circles, every time anyone would plan a back country overnight outing, they probably cheerfully exclaim, “I know, let’s call Firestarter, she’d be great!” I’d probably audition for survivor, too, and when the survivor teams are struggling, rubbing sticks together to start a fire, I could subtly use my powers and gain the advantage over the other teams.

The fire starting power would also come in handy at work, to heat up my lunch and to toast things. Currently, we have a “no toaster oven policy” at work, and are unable to use anything to heat up our food other then the approved microwaves. This policy came about because someone upstairs on the executive floor tried to toast a piece of lo-carb bread, (made with weird artificial products, I’m sure) and it caught fire in the toaster oven. Luckily, this happened on a beautiful and warm late spring day, and we got to hang out in the parking lot for the mega fire drill. Personally, I try to use a microwave as little if possible, and to my knowledge I haven’t used one in several years. And I say “to my knowledge” because I’m sure at some restaurant or someone’s house, they nuked something and fed it to me. I find it funny that there’s a large commercial industry directed at creating these metal boxes that use radiation to speed up the particles in your food to make it varying warm to hot temperatures. But that’s a whole other rant.

I was never really clear on what special powers Drew Barrymore’s mother possessed, but she seemed like a minor character. Firestarter’s father in the movie had the best power; he just clutched his head, got nosebleeds, and made his will be done. In one scene, he looked at a shady government official sent by big brother to murder him and said, “You’re blind!” and the guy in question dropped to the ground, clutching his face, rolled around screaming “I…I can’t see! I CAN’T SEE!” In another scene, he grabbed a pay phone and looked at it, and all the change started coming out of the coin return slot (they used this money to buy a bus ticket out of town away from the thugs pursuing them). Overall, if I were Firestarter I’d feel gypped, but would make the most of my fire starting ability. It’s actually more practical then spectacular, like her father’s powers. If I were her father, I’d totally abuse my powers. I’d just walk into stores and grab what I wanted, and when I tried to leave with it I’d tell security, “I paid for this already.” Or walk into a place I wanted to work and say, “I got the job.” Thinking about it more, it seems like Firestarter’s father had the Jedi Mind Trick power, combined with other Jedi attributes, like telekinesis. Oh well. I think I’ll see if I can rent Firestarter because now I’m curious. I’m sure if I had cable it would be on somewhere.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Phillippe Park

broken arm

When I was in 7th grade, I was climbing a tree in Phillippe Park, and fell out. I remember the incident as clear as a (morning) bell, my rationale, and frustration at being inconvenienced by my injury. I didn't realize I had broken my arm, but it was excrusiating pain and I knew at the very least I sprained it badly. The picture below is of the tree I fell out of, and the Adobe Photoshop arrow is a product of my own talent, indicating the spot I fell from. I wasn't that high, really, it was more the way I landed.

I remember it had started to rain, but I was climbing anyway, and thought I could balance and walk up the wide branches to the trunk, and climb down that way. I started to slip, and felt like I was going to fall. I was in that mystical limbo when your brain registers that you are going to invite and at the very least sustain injury, the wide eyed disbelief at events unfolding that as a mere mortal I have no power to dissuade. In my desperate grasping, I clutched onto a branch that broke off, and propelled me to the ground with such force the wind got knocked out of me. I landed on my folded arms, like a toppled T-rex. The awesome photoshop arrow in the picture below shows the spot, 20 years later, where the tratiorous branch once was.

In all actuality, the tree was probably relieved that I wasn't climbing anymore. The picture on the left is what I looked like in 7th grade. Anyone who knows me can probably agree not much has changed. Except I don't have that yellow shirt anymore. I never really liked it in the first place. After I caught my wind back, my brother walked me over to a near-by friend's house, who let me ice my arm for a while. When I got home, my father insisted that I didn't break my arm, I only sprained it, and had me wear an ace bandage to a band concert that night (I played flute in our middle school band). When I picked up my instrument to play, the pain was so intense that I left immediately, and my mother brought me to the emergency room. I was diagnosed with a clean break, thorugh both the radius and ulna, between my elbow and wrist. To this day, if the humidity or barometric pressure in the atmosphere changes, I can detect it up to a day prior.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

slice of paradise on a secret pier

Amid the chaos and uncontrollable disorder that ensured during my vacation to visit family in Florida, I discovered and spent some time on a secret pier, near the Safety Harbor Spa. To escape Oldsmar, the town my family lived in, I borrowed a bike and rode over the Oldsmar-Safety Harbor bridge, down Phillippe Parkway, through Phillippe Park, and along bayside shore roads, until I happened upon the non-descript entry way shown below:After passing through the entry way, I navigated through a small palm grove, successfully concealing my future destination. At this point, I was really awed by the variety and color contrasts of the palms--small short squat ones with sage green fronds, the traditional tall palms with deep green fronds, tall bushes bordering this secret hideaway, the soft welcoming grass beckoned my feet out of my sneakers and I felt each cool blade between my toes, and tickling my ankles. A little further the grove opened up to the bay, and networks of several small piers, with narrow walkways and no railings were accessible from inside this magic garden. In the picture below, another pier identical to the one I'm standing on is visible. I thought about taking the lure I photographed, but a higher power in me decided not to, and to just photograph it instead. I think it would be out of place existing anywhere else in space or time. The lure was connected to a network of a few, unused small pipes in the top of the shelter on the pier. Below is a picture of the neighboring pier, and my only companions out there for the day--several quiet waterfowl.
I broght plenty to do with me--I had my camera, a couple of books to read, some pens and a large compositoin book to draw and write, some water, things to keep me occupied or to document inspiration. I didn't bring any phones or other electronic destructive forces. It feels really nice to distance yourself from stressors, even if it is for an afternoon.

A sudden storm started to roll in and form about 3:30, so I high tailed it back home. Suffice to say I got rained--poured on, and as quick as the storm formed it dissipated. By the time I made it back home the weather had turned into a dry overcast. On the day I took these pictures, it was about 70-75 degrees, and I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt. I honestly feel that finding this solace and peace of mind was the highlight of the trip.

I have other pictures of Phillippe Park I'll post in later entries.

drunk santa?

This is a Christmas picture of my father and his older brother.
I'm thinking of making it my Christmas card for next year.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

please don't feed the gators

Well if you really want to I can't stop you

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Hangover!

Lots of alcohol + variety of types = My brother Christmas morning.
Nothing more fun than taking pictures of people when they're hung over!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas!

So it's just past midnight and my family is really dysfunctional. I mean, all families are dysfunctional, and I thought it would be fun to just observe, but I'm more then a spectator, unfortunately I'm a participant and have to stand up for my rights, or at least for the rights for the people who try hard to make a holiday happen. I can't idly sit back and let the people who are fucking it up continute to be assholes, I will put them in their place if they are disrespecting my family in any way, so if you're a girlfriend or boyfriend of a family member, and you can't handle your liquor and want to make an abrasive, controversial, uptight scene, I'll put you back in the place you belong, no problem. That's my promise. If you call me or my family trash, that's my loyalty right there, I'll make sure you understand you're the one who's trash, loud and clear.

I forgot how crazy holidays with family could be. For years, I've been on my own, not elected to do anything, and my minimal family obligation was making the day-of holiday phone call, and going back to the peaceful monotony of my routiene. Now that I'm an interactive particpant, I can't sit idly by while someone gets out of control, verbally abuses and disrespects my family and house, and loses control in all ways. My brother got his hand slammed in a car door, and that was at the high point of the drama occuring while Santa and his 8 tiny reindeer are sledding over the country, delivering presents to kids who have been good in the still of the night.

Too much alcohol too soon, everyone got way too drunk in a short amount of time. Somehow I'm the lightweight of the bunch and I'm fine, I paced myself and no problems here. I'm so mad right now I can't even get to sleep, and it's not even my problem.

And I thought I had problems.

Here's a picutre of my step brother puking behind the air conditioner on the side of the house. At least he didn't puke in it. That would really be smelly.

Thursday, December 22, 2005


I'm on vacation in the Tampa/St. Pete/Clearwater area, and we went out to dinner tonight:

I know it looks like a big mess, but it was good. Atlantic Salmon, garlic mashed potatoes, my dad's broccoli because he didn't want it and some zuchinni. All in a Pan-Asian sauce, whatever that was it was good.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Cats and their memories are funny things.

My dad has a cat named Beasley, he got her when I was 16. She's still around, apprehensively looking at me and skittishly approaching me, she seems as though she recognizes me but can't quite place me I've been away for so long. She looks the same, maybe a little fluffier then I remember but no visible grey.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


We got snow on Sunday afternoon, this picture was taken about 2 PM. It started out as freezing rain, and quickly yeilded to a big flake and frozen rain pellet mixture. It was really windy out, and the bullets of ice were peltling and stinging my tender face. I was having scarf issues and succeeded in getting the inside of my coat and neck all wet. We went for a four block walk to the warm and welcoming bakery, everything's so cheery, bright, orange and warm there.

I've lived in the Northeast for a while, on and off over the years, and feel that they get much more snow and face more weather extremes. I mean, sure there's volcanos, tsunamis and earthquakes here, but tempature and weather wise, it's pretty mild. You can find extremes on the mountains and volcanos, and when you tire of it you drive back to your place in the nearby community. Every time there's some snow or ice, it's breaking news coverage on all stations for hours, and the city has a hard time organizing the de-icing and plowing of the roads, until at least the next day. Hey, I lived in New York for the Nor'easter of January 1996, nothing I've been through beats that. NYC received about 3 feet of snow, the silence outside was eerie.

This is my work parking lot the next day. It warmed up in the morning, and the snow melted to slush. Then the tempature dropped and made the whole thing icy slush. I forgot how pleasant it is to get icy slush inside of my shoe. I've learned something from this recent bout of winter weather--I need to invest in an ice scraper. The kind with the brush on it.

random handfuls of wheat thins

This picture was taken from the kitchenette of the office I work at. There's a few people at the office who like to cook at home, and will bring in a pie or banana bread, or sometimes when I go to a meeting I'll bring the left over doughnuts back for the people who didn't attend the meeting. Sometimes there's something nasty there, the kind of food offerings that breed germs and disgust--the guy who doesn't wash his hands after using the rest room, then reaches into a bag of cookies and fingers up a few grabbing one, or someone stirring their coffee with the community sugar spoon, then licking the spoon and putting it back in the container. Today I happened to be walking by and I noticed what's pictured; it looked a couple random handfuls of wheat thins were placed on a napkin in a precarious pile. I think if you grabbed the wrong wheat thin, the whole pile could go cascading onto the counter top, which seems skeevier. I don't think anyone had any of this offering.

anonymous culprits

A funny thing happened the other night...Ric and I were going somewhere in a vehicle, and upon leaving our apartment I noticed a few kids standing around on the street corners. They seemed to be up to no good, appeared to signaling each other, and it was pretty late. The kids seemed about 13 or 14, and I remembered what I was doing at that age and became concerned. Ric, sharing this concern, agreed that we should drive around the block to see what they were up to. After slowly idling around a 5 square block radius, it was apparent there was a group effort to do something. A few of the kids noticed us watching us from inside the dark car on a dark part of the street and one tried to signal for us to drive by, which I thought was really weird. I became paranoid that these kids were organizing an effort to break in to apartments or vehicles, or steal things off of people's porches, which I have never done. Okay I did it once but I'll elaborate later. Anyway after stalking these kids, they seemed to be nervous and were now briskly walking away from our car, and hiding in the shadows, when it occurred to me they were playing a big game of hide and go seek or something, the kids seemed to be divided into two teams, and all were wearing either a pink or green neon necklace or bracelet. I wonder if these kids thought we were stalking them. I think of all the Amber Alert and childhood abductions you read or hear about in the news, and the people testifying to the near abductions accompanied by a police artist's shadowy sketch rendering of the anonymous culprit. Are we the anonymous culprits? I was just trying to make sure nobody stole anything, espeically something of mine.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

mural in WA

These pictures are of a mural in Vancouver, WA on the back of a buidling facing the parking lot I was in. I wish I had a landscape panarama viewing capability to present to you; these pictures were taken from left to right.

"Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself."

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Brian Barazzai…was a kid I used to know, and who was a really good guy. A drunk driver killed Brian Barazzai when he was 19, it happened on a rainy night of a tropical storm while he was driving a motorcycle with his brother Kevin riding on the back. The drunk driver crossed the yellow line and came right for Brian, driving in the oncoming lane. Brian slid to avoid getting hit by the car, and his brother Kevin flew off of the back of the motorcycle and over the hood of the car, and deflected off the wet out-of-control vehicle. Kevin suffered minor injuries, a broken jaw and neck, some bruises, but mostly intact. Brian, unfortunately, was run over by the car and killed, hopefully instantly. I think Brian died in 1991. Brian was 19 when he was killed. Kevin was 17, the same age as me. I worked with Brian and Kevin’s mother, Amy, at Kentucky Fried Chicken for 5 years, from the time I was 16 until I was 21. I can’t even believe to this day I worked there that long, it’s surreal. I recently saw Kevin on an episode of “Judge Joe Brown” or someone where Kevin was suing and won against someone who negotiated buying a motorcycle from him, then wouldn’t pay him after he received the motorcycle. Additionally, the person who Kevin was suing damaged the motorcycle, and it was undrivable or something. I couldn’t believe it was Kevin on the television; I was stunned for the entire proceeding. Not that I’ve talked to him in years, at least 12. I’m glad he won his case, nothing worse then going on national television and making an ass out of yourself, or even worse getting yelled at by the judge. Brian was a great friend, watched out for me, was always around to defend me if a bad situation seemed like it was going to transpire, and was fun. I felt really bad when Brian died, I couldn’t bring myself to go to his funeral, although I visited his gravesite once. One time Brian and I were on acid, and had to sneak into his house late at night, like 4 in the morning. We had to creep past Amy sleeping in an armchair to the lullaby of the barely audible television, just so Brian could get a pack of cigarettes because he bought a carton and didn’t want to purchase a renegade pack. I can’t believe Brian disappeared so instantly; it was so unreal. It broke my heart watching how it broke his mother’s heart, and Kevin was really upset too, but Amy lost it on some level. She started having dreams that Brian was talking to her. She told me one time that Brian told her in her dream to go to the Laundromat, and look in the second bottom dryer at the end of the aisle, and there would be a Kennedy half dollar in there for he. Sure enough, she went to the Laundromat after she woke up, and voila! in the bottom second dryer at the end of the aisle was the referenced Kennedy half dollar. While telling me this, she proudly showed her find to me, but the muted silver Kennedy head clutched in her small hands symbolized so much more then a dream, it was a solid representation of sorrow, the embodiment of her grief.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

One of the reasons I don’t wear patchouli anymore

walked into the office at 4:15 today. She was a tall, lanky woman in her early 30s, with a pale complexion, and hair dyed black and dark red. She was wearing black nail polish, army pants and black leather chaps over the army pants. Her hair was spiky; like large daggers jutting this way and that, off of her head, as if they were in protest because they are connected to her scalp. She had dark eye makeup on, and bright orange-red lipstick. Her purse was an oversized spiky thing as well, complementing her hair but the spikes on her purse were a much more subdued gray. She sat down, and her overpowering patchouli scent filled the small office and numbed my olfactory senses to anything else. She could have farted and I wouldn’t have detected it.

“Can I help you?” I inquired, secretly hoping that she could be quickly handled.

“Uh, yeah,” she languidly replied, “I like, want a clerical job, and you guys haven’t called me.”

“Well, it says in your file that you type 21 word s per minute with 11 errors, that could be part of the reason,” I open-endedly countered. “While you are here, do you want to re-take the assessment and we can record new scores?” Immediately I started kicking myself, because if she wanted to take the typing test it would probably take her forever.

“Nah, that’s fine for now.”

Whew. I was beginning to feel dizzy from the patchouli smell, the funny, nauseating feeling I get when I use too much Tilex and don’t open a window to vent the fumes. It was hard to concentrate through the process; and to complicate matters; she asked questions about everything and had a problem with or needed a clarification of everything I was telling with her. I updated her information, and then she had her resume on a floppy disk she wanted me to make a correction on and print out a copy for her file. I refuse to do this; anyone can go to a library or a Kinko’s and do this for themselves and show up prepared. My mind poisoned from her patchouli, and I caved in. I ended up printing off a copy of her resume for her, but she was a little put off I didn’t want to make the correction. This annoyed me and I told her she could go to a library or a Kinko’s and do this for herself, because I wasn’t there to do that for her, especially if she is applying for a job. After 30 excruciating, needy, extra long eon-seemingly minutes, she left to catch her bus back downtown and I was freed from the patchouli curse. The whole situation occurred in my friend’s office, and hopefully the oily scent has dissipated by tomorrow morning. She deals with the public more frequently then I do, and her office is the catchall for 1 on 1 employee or applicant interaction, and has an arsenal of fragrances, disinfectant, anti-bacterial and odor-eliminating products for all of her public related needs.


I took these picutres in the parking lot of my local grocery store last weekend.

I can't belive that people wonder why there has been such an increase in natural disasters and extreme weather.

The Hawthorne Bridge (and other views)

Here's a picutre of me approaching the access point for the dock and pedestrian path to get to the bridges.A picture of the Hawthorne Bridge, taken from the Eastbank Esplanade, which is a pedestrian and cycing path that travels the east bank of the river and joins up with about 5 bridges to cross to the west. A view from under the Hawthorne Bridge, looking west. There's been a construction boom on the SW side of the river lately. The Marquam bridge, which carries I-5, is in the distance. As I start to cross the bridge, I am confronted with the following signage:Counterweight. Very big.
The Marquam and Ross Island Bridges in the background of the picutre below:
Looking north, the Morrison Bridge is in view, and the Steel Bridge far in the background to the left of the picture.
A view of downtown Portland, taken from the Hawthorne Bridge.
These pictures were taken from a small dock, which had several patches of ice on it and no railing.

resume tips...

After looking through hundreds of resumes, I’m surprised there aren’t more unemployed people. First of all, it’s a good idea to keep your resume to the point, and not more than one page to look at. When listing skills and abilities, it’s probably not a good idea to list things such as “able to work unsupervised,” I would hope that you could do that without telling me that. If you work in a payday loan place, we don’t consider that working in an “office” and you shouldn’t consider yourself a “teller.” Loan Shark is a probably more applicable title, but customer service will suffice. Don’t write an entire paragraph to depict the several duties you took on at each of your jobs; make it clear and to the point, bullets work well. I hate navigating a paragraph of fluff to figure out you answered calls and did filing. Don’t list education first; put that at the bottom. If you have an objective, make sure that it is in line for what you are applying for. For example, if I’m trying to hire someone to as an Administrative Assistant and your objective says something like “To find a salaried career using my mortgage related and office management skills” I’m probably going to throw your resume out. Similarly, if your objective is something ambiguous, such as “I’m looking for a challenging career in which I can use my skills and life experiences and my employers,” or “Motivated self-starter seeking a professional growth opportunity,” you may be better off not listing one. Anywhere intentional use of lower case letters is spotted will immediately disqualify a resume, as in a first name that looks like "neil young" or when referring to themselves in the first person as "i". Anyone who sends a resume for a position where they are asked to come in and apply in person may not be considered; this isn’t following directions. If you list that you can type, but don’t tell me your typing speed, I’m assuming that it’s not too quick. If you are providing a cover letter, make it short and to the point, not summarizing the torturous resume attached to said narrative.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

the mountains were out today

too bad this one is behind a million telephone poles and wires. It was a really clear, windy and cold today, and from several points around Portland a great view of the nearby mountains could be seen...This picture was taken on my way up into Mt. Tabor, an inactive volcano which offers great views. Mt. Hood, picutred above, is to the east of Mt. Tabor which is located in SE Portland. The picutre does not do the view justice, it is really breathtaking.

On my way up to the top of Mt. Tabor, I passed a great view of Mt. St. Helens, about 70 miles N-NE of Mt. Tabor. Below is the same shot, just zoomed in:

Below is a picutre taken of Mt. Hood, to the east, from on the top of Mt. Tabor.

The parking area is located below a steep climb to the viewing area; there is a paved road loop that cars do not have access to. As a result, there are many cyclists and joggers that include Mt. Tabor in their exerscises. On my way up, I passed the large concrete cap below, which I suspect (but don't have confirmation) is the cap of the extinct volcano.

Finally, below is a zoom-in of Mt. Hood from the shot above the alledged volcanic cap. Just knowing that Mt. Tabor is an extinct volcano makes me think of "The Little Prince," and his little planet with the extinct volcano on it that he had to clean and take care of.