Saturday, September 30, 2006

Thursday, September 28, 2006

close quartered job fair notes

I'm not hungry, but not in a position to eat so I'll eat a handful of altoids. I used to be funny about altoids, you know, because of the whole gelatin thing. Gelatin still skeeves me out, don't get me wrong, but there comes a point when you are just plain hungry.

I'm at this job fair where it's the closest-quartered fair I've even been too. No room to stand, no room to bring my big fortress display. Just my cups and flyers.

The elevator in this building is so slow, I swear there was guy with a hand crank somewhere responsible for transporting people throughout the different levels of the building. And once inside the elevator, I felt like a stranger in a strange land, the buttons in the elevator were labeled "M" and "L" and "U." There wasn't any "1" "2" or "3", or anything else that made sense and helped me completely feel comfortable about my selection.

All of the vendors here, as usual, have a bunch of shit they've brought to give away. We are all contributing to this landfill earth. At least this job fair is only three hours long, and 1 of which has just passed. I brought coffee mugs, so at least my contribution to the decline of the planet will be a slow drawn out death, unlike the swift demise of the stress squeezy toys, fuzzy highlighters, magnets that don't really stick, and tons of glassy marketing material that can only hope to be glanced at after someone has picked it up.

A lunch is provided for vendors, and I hope it's good. The altoids I have been eating aren't cutting it. I brought a case of cups, and I want to get rid of them so I don't have to carry it back to the car, but many people are apprehensive about taking one. I don't know why; at the other job fairs the slobs walk away with two and three.

My pen is running out of ink. That sucks because it was such a good pen, good writing quality and comfortable feel. Goodbye faithful pen, enjoy the landfill!

So I traded the fed-ex lady next to me a cup for 2 pens and a squeezy stress airplane. I'm sure I'll be using that soon. She joked and said that you could hold 2 squeezy airplanes and squeeze them while you were in traffic.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

freak hail storm

The week before last we received a freak hail storm, that dropped so much hail on us that it piled up like snow drifts. When I got into my car to go home, I was sliding all over the parking lot. The hail was smaller then the size of a pea, so there weren't any dents or otherwise lasting effects of the hailstorm.

And in the last picture, after the end of the storm, I notieced that my place of employment is at the end of the rainbow.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

death, in general but specifically speaking...

I work in the office with a woman named Katherine, who happened to start work the same day as me. She’s beautiful, a mother, wife, dynamic strong individual, has many ideas, understands workplace urgency, but even in the most stressful of situations is very upbeat. I started noticing about a month ago that she had been missing a lot of work; mentioned to me times she wouldn’t be available due to medical appointments (I coordinate a lot of activities with her). Recently I found out she has cancer; a particularly aggressive and quick cancer and I feel stunned. She’s still working, looking a little more tired and not as upbeat, but it’s a real effort on my part not to feel or show sadness when I see her. I did a little on-line research, and it seems there will be a time when she can’t keep the façade up and continue to work. I’m not too close with her, so I can’t strike up a conversation with her, “Hey, how’s the cancer thing going?” but I feel really sad and try my best to put it out of my mind, maybe she’ll be one of the 3% that successfully goes into remission.

I guess the symptoms for this type of cancer aren’t’ really distinct; they could be interpreted as anything mild and easily over looked. I went to lunch today with a friend of mine named Lynn, and I was telling her about Katherine and how I felt about the whole thing. Lynn was explaining how her mother died from the same type of cancer, and she and all of her family were in the hospice during her mother’s final days, and they were all really upset, but trying to keep the strong upper lip for their mother’s sake. Then Lynn went on to explain that she had a kooky ex-boyfriend hippy new age guy there, who, despite all of his pot smoking and general weirdness, had this great philosophy about death, and about how it was a stage of life, and it’s just a transition into another plane of being, weather you’re Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, whatever, you are basically transcending this life onto the next ------- [insert next thing here]. The calm rationalization of this often overlooked hippy made everyone feel at ease, and helped her family through that painful transition.

So, yes, I agree with that statement, and I think part of the pain and sadness of dying is suffering, and the other part is sudden death. Last month my friend Arland died, suddenly, 2 days before his death he sat next to me at a meeting and we were bullshitting about the nice weather and some of the great things we had done over the summer. I was telling him about when I visited Mt. St. Helens, and he was telling me how he lived near there when it erupted, and had so much ash covering his property and car it was like a thick blizzard. Arland was older then I thought he was; I didn’t find out until his eulogy that he was 59, but I swear he was like 49. I usually can’t go to funerals, but went to Arland’s, and I stayed a total of 32 minutes before I had to leave. Arland had a massive heart attack, with no warning; he never complained and seemed relatively healthy, especially compared to the rest of the country. I think I was more upset that so many people around me were upset, rather then being upset that Arland had died. When I arrived at the funeral home where the wake was being held, my first thought was, “I hope this many people show up when I die.” I didn’t go up to the front and look at his body or anything.

I think I’ll just remember him sitting next to me at the meeting, shooting the shit and eating cookies with me.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

On this day...

On this day...

September 17: Constitution Day and Citizenship Day in the United States.

At the Signing of the Camp David Accords


The Soviet Union joined Nazi Germany's invasion of Poland.
The Soviet Union joined Nazi Germany's invasion of Poland.
Enterprise rolls out of the Palmdale manufacturing facilities with Star Trek television cast members.
Enterprise rolls out of the Palmdale manufacturing facilities with Star Trek television cast members.



Holidays and observances

It's also my birthday. Happy birthday to me, I'm 33! My father told me that I was born early in the morning.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Belmont Street Fair

Last Saturday I participated in the Belmont Street Fair as a vendor. The fair was all up and down SE Belmont Street, but the craft fair was on the corner of SE 34th and Belmont. It was open from 10 AM to 5 PM, and it was a beautiful day. Ric helped me set up, scouted out the competition, and watched the booth while I ran and peed about 6 times (in a bathroom, or course, I would rather hold it then use a port-o-pottie). Many friends of mine attended the fair, and dropped by my booth. Some of the guys I worked with at the sheltered workshop showed up, and my booth became a central meeting hub for many charachters.

mmm...fair food

Some of my artwork, set up in my booth...

View from behind my booth...

The trolley that would deposit a bunch of people at my booth every 1/2 hour

This dog was pretty cute, I think the perfect friend for Marcus...

our friend Greg

Ric and Larry

Another Larry

It was a great day! I hope to participate again next year. I live in the neatest neighborhood.

life changing incidents happen in quick moment

I particpated in the Belmont Street Fair last week as a vendor, selling fused glass art. It was alot of fun, I was in a great spot, and I made back my booth cost + about $107 extra so it was a great day. My goal was just to make the booth cost back, and I always hope for a little extra to get something to eat. Anyway, I plan to blog more about the Belmont Street Fair in a different entry, but that evening, as we were walking around town, we walked past the same intersection where my booth was, and moments before we got there, a car had hit a cyclist, knocked her off her bike and she cracked her head on the asphalt. She wasn't wearing a helmet. From what the other onlookers said, she was alright but just bleeding alot, which is always better then the worst. Of couse nobodies talking about brain injury at this point; it's probably just a releif that she's breathing and ambulatory. Below are pictures I took with my camera-phone of the rescue personnel at work:

approcaching the scene...

The policeman in the center of the picture is standing by the mangeled bike; the woman who had been hit had been taken away by the ambulence at this point.

I hope she's okay. The driver didn't leave the scene, which is always good. I'm not sure who's a fault; it could have been nobody's fault. You never know when your number is called by the great deli counter serviced by a higher power.

Friday, September 08, 2006

wheat-free failure

I've noticed that on a daily basis I get an overwhelming tired feeling around 2:30-3 PM. I'm often so tired that I could put my head down and easily sleep in an instant, and have gotten into a bad habit of taking 15 minute power naps between work and martial arts practice in the evening. I've tried getting more sleep, getting less sleep, drinking more coffee, eating apples, and all of these control variations didn't really change how tired I felt. After talking to a friend who has a wheat allergy, I thought I'd try to cut wheat products temporarily out of my life to see if it made a difference. And this is a difficult change to make for me; I live a few blocks from a great bakery and happen to love all things made of wheat. It's been a challenge coming up with alternative breakfasts and avoiding wheat that has been incorporated into other foods.

I didn't realize the degree of success I've achieved until I overdosed on wheat this weekend. I am also lactose intolerant, and against the will of my physiology, I ended up gorging on pizza, went to a free sample pepper festival at the New Season's Market, had lots of things that included wheat and cheese, went to the bakery two days in a row, and by Sunday I was very blown out and almost drunk toxic, practically tongue felt thick in my mouth and all my thoughts were disconnected. I actually had started feeling better from limiting the amount of wheat products I ate, but didn't realize it because it my system was slowly adjusting.

I'm doing my best to re-adjust. My boss and I went out to lunch once, and she mentioned if she could only eat two foods for the rest of her life, as if she were shipwrecked on a desert island and could only bring two types of food with her, she said it would be fruit and cheese. I thought about this, but the only thing I could come up with was bread.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Smoke and enjoy the flight

I don't smoke, but I used to, and I know several people who smoke and would appreciate this article:

Smoke and enjoy the flight

By Nicola Clark International Herald Tribune

Published: September 3, 2006

PARIS If Alexander Schoppmann is right, then where there's smoke, there's a flier.

As more countries ban smoking in public places, his idea might seem malapropos. But Schoppmann, a German entrepreneur, is hoping to turn smokers' umbrage at ever-expanding efforts to stub out their habit into a highflying business proposal: Smoker's International Airways.

As the name suggests, the airline, known as Smintair for short, will probably not be for the faint of lung. The carrier, expected to begin luxury service with only business and first-class seats early next year, plans daily flights between Schoppmann's hometown of Düsseldorf and Tokyo - a 12-hour journey that, for some inveterate smokers, is simply not worth the nicotine-withdrawal headache.

"Many people simply don't travel long distances anymore because they can't smoke," said Schoppmann, 55, who admits to a 30-a-day cigarette habit as well as the occasional cigar. "That has to be why they invented videoconferencing."

It is also about comfort, he insists. "Air travel used to be a luxury experience," Schoppmann said. "Today the prices are exploding, and the service is going down to zilch. We want to bring back the joy of flying."

On-board smoking has been prohibited on most major airlines for years: Since 2000, all of the world's busiest international routes have been essentially smoke-free. Within the United States, the government has banned in-flight smoking for almost two decades. Most European carriers are not required by law to ban smoking but have voluntarily introduced no-smoking policies. In Japan, carriers stopped allowing smoking on most flights in the late 1990s.

Smoking bans on long-haul flights, though, are not just cruel and unusual as far as Schoppmann is concerned - they are downright repressive.

"Considering the amount of money I put on the table for the ticket, I don't understand why somebody should be able to tell me I can't do what I like," he said.

By starting with service between Germany and Japan, two of the world's most smoker-filled countries, Schoppmann said he expected Smintair to profit from the steady flow of business travel between the two. While it might seem a bit out of the way, Düsseldorf - sometimes referred to as Tokyo on the Rhine - is home to a Japanese population of more than 15,000, the third-largest in Europe, after those in London and Paris. Roughly 300 Japanese companies have European headquarters in or around Düsseldorf.

According to the International Air Transport Association, more than a million passengers traveled between Japan and Germany in 2004, a figure that is expected to increase by an average of 3.6 percent a year through 2009. While the majority of Japanese visitors to Germany are tourists, fully half of the Germans traveling to Japan are there on business.

What's more, about one-quarter of Germans smoke, while government surveys say 49 percent of men and 14 percent of women in Japan smoke.

"We expect all of our flights to be overbooked," Schoppmann said.

Despite his deep empathy with smoking travelers, Schoppmann said Smintair's raison d'être was not simply to create a haven for nicotine addicts. Smintair is also promoting its exclusivity, offering only business and first- class seats. Its two 747s - normally configured to seat around 415 people - will be fitted with just 138 seats.

In some ways, Schoppmann's business plan is directed at the same type of clientele that used to fly the Concorde until Air France and British Airways canceled the supersonic service in 2003. Smoking was always allowed on Concorde flights, where passengers paid upward of $9,000 for a seat.

On Smintair, Schoppmann said, ticket prices will be in line with those of the German flag carrier Lufthansa, whose Web site recently offered a nonstop business-class ticket from Frankfurt to Tokyo for €4,298, or $5,500, and €6,452 for first class.

Even with smoking statistics in its favor, some experts say Smintair is a gamble. Past attempts to create smokers' airlines in the United States have come to naught. In 1988, when Congress banned smoking on all flights of less than two hours, a group of Texas-based investors sought to set up the Great American Smokers' Club, a members- only charter service between Dallas and Houston. Despite signing up more than 6,000 members, the venture failed after regulators refused to grant it a license.

Five years later, after the U.S. ban was extended to include long-haul flights, a similar venture in Florida, Smokers Express, failed to raise enough money from investors.

"These specialized things frequently come to grief," Daniel Solon, an analyst at Avmark, a commercial aviation consultancy, said of Smintair.

Moreover, there is the question of whether smokers would take the trouble to make their way to Düsseldorf just to take a 12-hour smoking flight.

"If I'm in London making a lot of money in the City and I decide that I want to go to Japan, I'm not sure it's worth my while," Solon said. "Unless you've really got a heavy habit, most smokers should be able to handle 12 hours on the plane without lighting up."

Schoppmann said he had lined up nearly €300 million since May from private investors in Europe and the Middle East. The company expects to apply for an operating license with German regulators by late September and hopes to eventually hire about 275 people.

Germany and Japan permit smoking in workplaces, so the argument that many European countries and the United States have used to ban smoking - the health hazard to employees - would not be relevant there.

Smintair's safety prohibitions will bar smoking during takeoff and landing, nor will it be permitted in the toilets.

Michael Lamberty, a spokesman for Lufthansa, declined to comment on Smintair's prospects. "Let's wait for the smoke to clear," he said. All Lufthansa flights have been nonsmoking since 1989, he said, adding, "Passengers and we as an airline have been happy with it."

Meanwhile, the anti-smoking movement appears to be gaining ground in Germany. The country's consumer affairs minister, Horst Seehofer, said in July that the government planned after the summer break to propose a nationwide ban on smoking in public places beginning next year.

"I would love that," Schoppmann said. "They are playing into our hands."

Original article can be viewed at:

Monday, September 04, 2006

all hail free wi-fi

Well, the good news is that I can pick up on free wi-fi from inside my apartment. Prior to this moment in time, I had to glom off of free wi-fi picked up from inside my art studio, or from work, or from one of the nearby coffee shops (believe me, no shortage of coffee shops in Portland).

The not-so-good news is that out of every possible place inside my small 1-bedroom apartment I could pick up wi-fi, it seems to work the best from my bathroom. Juxtaposed between the sink and tub, cat box and toilet, I can freely surf the internet and update my blog. I could be 10 feet to my right and in my kitchen, even on the small square patio-ette area outside of my side door and not pick up any wireless networks. But the magic spot happens to be right here, in the bathroom.

Which is good, I guess, that I can at least get wireless and have all the comforts of home close by; my studio is a good place to use the interent, but the signal is intermittent, and lately more often then not I have been in the middle of working on something unsaved when I lose the connection. It makes downloading music a real pain in the ass. There's so much that's happened that I have to update and post pictures of: the neighborhood BBQ, a lot of glass being produced, martial arts fun, marcus updates, and other disconnected and random thoughts and opinions on things.

I feel back on track now that the season change is nearing. I've been really feeling the increased speed of the earth's seems just yesterday it was 1999. I can't believe 2006 is more then half way over. It's been a fun and jam packed summer, and I'm eeking a few more things in before the rain returns.

I've missed the rain. It seems a good portion of the state has been on fire lately. The air quality has been very poor, almost Los Angeles like in haze. The almost-full moon seems like a large orange orb, a displaced sun hanging in the navy-black sky.