Wednesday, December 12, 2007

say it isn't so

I was surfing around some entertainment news when I stumbled upon this article:

‘Knight Rider’ is back

Wondering what you’ll do with your February if there are no new TV shows to watch? Well, one night is taken care of. NBC announced that “Knight Rider” will return Feb. 17 as a two-hour movie event. Among the stars of the film: David Hasselhoff will reprise his role as Michael Knight, and Will Arnett of “30 Rock” will be the voice of Kitt.

Boy I hope it doesn't come to this. I'm kind of curious, I have to admit. That David Hasselhoff is quite a character, and back in the day he was quite the cheese. He's still cheese, but also kind of scary, sad, drunk, pompous and vain.

I used to really be into this show. I thought the technology was really advanced, but re-watching this intro makes me realize it's just lame special effects. I like how there was the standard 'hot chick' mechanic who worked on K.I.T.T., leaning over the hood of the car in a provocative way. I completely forgot about that old dude. Who was he, the placement agent?

What was with the mobile garage in the tractor trailer? Even as a kid I suspected they had that just to add to the cheese stunt driving effects. It seemed so cool at the time. I never had a clue that K.I.T.T. wasn't speed driving, the people producing the show just sped regular film up.

And what was with that steering wheel?? I would not feel comfortable driving that car with a steering wheel like that, but I guess if K.I.T.T. could drive himself I wouldn't worry as much. I'm sure it's in K.I.T.T.'s best interest to correct any erroneous driving that could cause damage. I guess if Michael Knight drank the way David Hasselhoff does he wouldn't have to worry about driving home drunk.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

light mayonnaise's polar opposite

at least they're honest about it.
This product was sold in the convenient 30-gallon bucket size.

portion control?

When I arrived at work the other day, I was greeted by random hunks of cake on plates. I have to be honest, I don't trust the person I suspect put this cake out. I think he might be one of those "not washing hands after using the rest room" type. Even if they wash their hands, I'm positive they're not conscious of touching door handles, railings, and elevator buttons. I've written before from a workplace where there is public food available. And I don't like it; I'm sure a finger or two was used to get the square of cake out of the pan, and I'm sure the frosting on those dirty fingers was licked off too.

My cube mate took up this offer of community work cake. She took two bites and said, "you know, this really isn't good." It did look weird, the cake seemed like a combination of mixes and the frosting seemed a little glopy and weird. Some pieces of cake on the table had extra glopy dollops of frosting on the cake exposed side of the square.

The only community table of work food items I really trust are things in wrappers. Or if I personally know who made it and get the first or second piece.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

NASA is at it again...

Just in case you started to forget about NASA and their zany antics, here's a link to an article that came out today. It seems they were ready again to launch when someone noticed a faulty fuel sensor or something. As a result, they postponed the launch for a couple of days. News of the postponement particularly disappointed Europeans because The Atlantis was scheduled to lug a bunch of their techno-space stuff up to the International Space Station.

I was reading part of the article that discusses the issue with the fuel sensor and how it works, when I read this line:

The launch could have gone forward if only one of the sensors failed — but two of them gave bad readings on Thursday.

What's that all about??

That's about a blatant lack of quality, that's what. How could they justify launching a shuttle into space with only one sensor working? I think that's a lot different then driving around with one headlight or something. Whether or not the sensors work properly could mean the difference between living or becoming a fiery ball of space dust.

And I can't understand why the Europeans are disappointed. Their space furniture could have been included in the fiery ball of space dust. If they're so concerned about getting their stuff in space why don't they get some other space program to bring it up? What's Richard Branson up to, I'm sure he'd fly the stuff up.

Monday, December 03, 2007

tupperware trading party

I want to have a Tupperware trading party for everyone who has a bunch of mismatched lids and bottoms floating around their kitchen cabinets. I swear every time I go to put leftovers or tomorrow's lunch away, I find the perfect bottom but no matching lid. And while I'm sorting through both of the places I keep all those crazy things jumbled up, I find lids that seem to cover awesome bottom pieces that are mysteriously gone.

There's go to be other people out there facing the same dilemma. Like you, I can't part with those odd, incomplete misfits and keep tossing them back into the cabinetry abyss in hopes one day the other piece turns up. Rarely do I experience this reunion; once I forgot I put a leaky plant inside of a container with the intention to eventually re-pot it. It was pretty cool to make that discovery.

On a side bar I think Dilemma is one of the tougher words to spell. If it were a game show question I'd more then likely get it wrong. I really put the spell check to the test with the mangle attempted spelling, which came out as "dillema." I guess that isn't too far off the mark. The funny thing about spell check is the possible replacement words it provided were "Guillema," "Guillema's," "Willemstad", "allemande" and "Willem". Those choices really threw me off and it took another couple of stabs spelling it to get it.

Anyway, back to the Tupperware party, I envisioned a bunch of people showing up at some apartment, and maybe it'd be a pot luck bring snacks type of thing. Cookies, appetizers, cheese, crackers, cakes, fruit...possibly beer too, but I'm also open to tea and coffee parties. You could even store some pot luck leftovers in your newly completed container set! Maybe there'd be a big table in the center of the room with a giant piece of paper on the table , and each person who showed up set their pieces on this table and wrote their name next to it to identify who's container it is. Then each person would have to negotiate with the other, but I think a good general rule of thumb would be to give up the lids to the owner of the container, unless the owner of the container declined and let the lid owner keep the set.

In any event, everyone should go home with some leftover snacks!

Friday, November 30, 2007

R.I.P. Evel Knievel

So long, Evel Knievel. You've inspired us all to try to jump the canyon in a home made rocket. May your broken and weary bones rest in peace.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

writer's block

I noticed this poster on a telephone pole while walking down writer's block.

A lot's been happening and it definitely warrants posting an update soon.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


I went to the dentist today and I can't say it was an entirely good experience. I made an emergency appointment yesterday because one of my teeth were hurting and I appreciate that they got me in so quickly. I ended up enduring a variety of medieval torture methods marauding as dentistry for the hour and a half I spent in the chair.

Actually I was in two different chairs--the first was for my x-ray. Why technology can't catch up with this procedure is beyond me. The assistant throws the 500 pound lead apron over my chest that knocks the wind out of me. Then she jams the hard rectangle of x-ray film into my mouth and tells me to bite. I can't bite down because the cardboard is wedged between the roof of my mouth and under my tongue. She repeats for me to bite down a few times as she pulls it out and jams it back in. I try to say "I can't bite down because it's wedged under my toungue and causing a great deal of pain" but all that comes out is "aaarrhhghssc khaaaankd ddnnn." After a few more minutes of her repeating the prompts to bite down, she tells me not to move and runs out of the room. I've always felt that it can't be a good sign if technicians are running away while you're getting an x-ray.

Is anyone working on a safer and less torturous way of getting pictures of our insides??

After the x-ray nightmare I'm escorted into the examination area. I reclined in the chair and wait for the dentist and assistant come back and tell me what's causing the pain. I spent about 40 minutes alternately looking out the window and looking around the room. I thought about taking a nap but I was too jacked up on coffee to sleep. I noticed that several things in the room had a clear plastic bag covering it--the light fixture on the super sun mouth light, the movable tray housing different looking instruments, a small pressurized water tank and a few other things I couldn't really identify. I also noticed a couple of strange looking instruments that weren't covered. Upon closer inspection, I noticed splatters on the splash guards.

That kind of grossed me out. I started thinking about the shared arm rests on the chair and other shared surfaces and became even more grossed out. I suspected that they didn't sanitize too much stuff, I mean how can they possibly clean things between patients? I can't really see in the examination areas too well but I'm pretty sure I didn't see someone go in there and quickly wipe everything down. I know when they work on my mouth there's a fine mist of spray from the use of water tools. That tiny napkin fastened around your neck with roach clips is hardly sufficient and I often have to wipe dental runoff from my neck after I'm proclined (the opposite of recline??)

So after poking, prodding, scraping and drilling (without novacane), the determine that my #30 tooth is cracked and needs to have the filling repacked, needs a crown and possible root canal. I asked about pain killers and my dentist told me to take ibuprofen. I made my next appointments on the way out and can't wait for the next dental adventure. This dentist's visit left me feeling as if I've been chewing on tin foil all day, now in addition to the jaw pain. The chew on tinfoil feeling is one of the worst. It's tied with scratching nails on a chalkboard, or scraping plastic on styrofoam.

I didn't even get a free toothbrush this time! I'll have to be sure to grab two next time. I love doctor's office swag.

Monday, November 05, 2007

coyote at work!

One of the biggest differences since the clocks were changed an hour back, it's darker earlier in the evening. When we were leaving work today about 5:30, the sun had just set and the sky was a brilliant dark turquoise. One of my co-workers spotted a coyote in the parking lot, and I took this barely recognizable picture:

It appears the only thing the camera documented were two glowing eyes! I wasn't about to get any closer to get a better shot, I got a little nervous when he turned to look at me.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

in case you were wondering about the Space Shuttle

The space shuttle has been docked at the International Space Station. While they were there, the crew of the Endeavor assisted in fixing the screw with the renegade metal filings. To fix the screw, the giant solar wings had to be retracted and the space shuttle moved (I'm still not solid on this one). After the job was completed, as they attempted to re open the wings, they "noticed" a tear in the solar blanket:

Yesterday, an Endeavor crew member engaged in a risky 7 hour space walk operation to fix the tear. The repair spacewalk was supposed to happen sooner, but they've had minor problems I'm not clear about causing delays.

(picture taken from astronaut helmet cam)

When they finally were able to do the space walk, it involved standing near a large field of electric current that couldn't be shut off. The actual task was something to the effect of cutting wires and improvising a jerry rig to hold the tear in place.

After the job was complete, the astronaut returned inside the International Space Station and the crew successfully opened the solar array. The space shuttle is scheduled to return to earth on Wednesday, unless of course something else comes up.

Another article I found explains that the astronauts brought Luke Skywalker's light saber with them. It's not even a real one, it's only a replica. That's really not going to help them in the event of an emergency. I wonder if anyone told the astronauts that it didn't work. How much extra fuel the space shuttle used to launch that extra 5 lbs or so into space?

NASA sure seems confident the shuttle will successfully re-enter the earth at the end of the mission (or at least they're not addressing any concerns). They've been up there for 12 days so far.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

E.coli, salmonella, and botulism, oh my!

Is more of our food being contaminated or has the amount of contaminated food always stayed the same, but the media's reporting of food recalls and poisonings has increased as time goes by?

battered halibut rip-off

The last time we were at Trader Joe's, Ric bought a box of "Battered Halibut." I was going to throw some in the oven the other night, but when I opened the box I couldn't believe my eyes. The size of the fillets and the amount in the box occupied less then half the box space. Over half of the box was empty! What a waste.

Here is a comparison photo of the bagged fillets next to the box that contained it. We started talking about how there's wasted box materials, twice as many trees and plastic and whatever else they're using to make the box, half as many are shipped but take up the maximum amount of space. I'm sure we paid an amount that led us to believe there'd be more in the box.

This is what was in the bag. And the quality of fish wasn't good either.

When was a kid, I used to love tartar sauce. We didn't make any for this battered halibut, but it would have definitely helped. We went to the supermarket last night and couldn't find any sweet relish or bread without high fructose corn syrup in it. What's up with that?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

happy Halloween!

(the pumpkin on the right is lopsided because it is rotting).

One Halloween when I was a teen-ager, a group of us armed ourselves with Supersoaker water guns filled with jalapeno pepper juice. We piled into our friend's station wagon and drove around neighborhoods that were busy with trick-or-treating children. Our mission was to seek out and subdue the 13 year old bullies that were on their bikes, known most for riding around harassing and stealing candy from the younger kids. The look of surprise on their faces as we drove alongside them and blasted them was priceless. Kind of like that credit card commercial--

Super Soaker Aqua Shock HydroBlitz: $34

5 gallons of JalapeƱo pepper juice: $37.59

1/2 tank of gas: $7.00

facilitating justice on Halloween: priceless.

Monday, October 29, 2007

the benefits of smoking

who knew there were benefits from smoking? from wikipedia--

Health benefits of smoking

Some studies have discovered health benefits correlated with smoking. These studies observed a reduction in the occurrence of some diseases, but all such studies stressed that the benefits of smoking did not outweigh the risks.

Several types of "Smoker’s Paradoxes",[50] i.e. cases where smoking appears to have specific beneficial effects, have been observed; often the actual mechanism remains undetermined. For instance, recent studies suggest that smokers require less frequent repeated revascularization after percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).[50] Risk of ulcerative colitis has been frequently shown to be reduced by smokers on a dose-dependent basis; the effect is eliminated if the individual stops smoking.[51][52] Smoking appears to interfere with development of Kaposi's sarcoma,[53] breast cancer among women carrying the very high risk BRCA gene,[54] preeclampsia,[55] and atopic disorders such as allergic asthma.[56] A plausible mechanism of action in these cases may be the nicotine in tobacco smoke acting as an anti-inflammatory agent and interfering with the disease process.[57]

In mice, studies have shown nicotine can reduce the amount of DOI-induced head twitches (meant to model tics) related to Tourette's Syndrome.

A large body of evidence suggests that the risks of neurological diseases such as Parkinson's disease or Alzheimer's disease might be twice as high for non-smokers than for smokers.[58] Many such papers regarding Alzheimer's disease[59] and Parkinson's Disease[60] have been published. A plausible explanation for these cases may be the effect of nicotine, a cholinergic stimulant, decreasing the levels of acetylcholine in the smoker's brain; Parkinson's disease occurs when the effect of dopamine is less than that of acetylcholine. Opponents counter by noting that consumption of pure nicotine may be as beneficial as smoking without the risk.

Other Alzheimer's studies, however, challenge these epidemiological studies on methodological grounds.[61] A prospective Rotterdam Study found that the incidence of Alzheimer's disease is more than double for smokers as compared to non-smokers[62] and the Honolulu Heart Program (a longitudinal cohort study) also found more than twice the risk for Alzheimer's disease among medium and heavy smokers as compared to non-smokers.[63]

Though the negative correlation between smoking and Parkinson's disease is recognized, the causality has not been established. The relationship may be artifact (observational) based on clusters of behavioral and personality differences in the pre-Parkinsonian population versus the smoking population.[64]

Considering the high rates of physical sickness and deaths[65] [66] among persons suffering from schizophrenia, one of smoking's short term benefits is its temporary effect to improve alertness and cognitive functioning in that disease.[67] It has been postulated that the mechanism of this effect is that schizophrenics have a disturbance of nicotinic receptor functioning.[68]

Sunday, October 28, 2007

today was a great day

another great fall day here, all the rain we've been getting made for the greenest grass I've ever seen. The air smelled fresh, and like fall leaves. Many people were out today taking advantage of the nice weather before the days of rain set in.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

glad I'm not a diplomat

It's a new era, different world, new kind of war...

CNN is running a story that tells of a shortage of employees at the U.S.Embassy in Iraq to the point that they are drafting diplomats who are working in the U.S., and making working in Iraq mandatory. Diplomats who refuse will be fired for "failing to uphold their oath to serve the United States and the Constitution." Can you believe that? I found similar articles covered by ABC News, the Baltimore Sun, and the BBC News, as well as several other global sources.

I did a little research, and a "Foreign Service Officer" or diplomat, begins a career entry level with no previous experience at $40,365. Masters Level starts at $45,000. Is that enough income to be drafted and put your life on the line? How much is a life worth? You think most people would say you can't put a price on risking your life, but people do it every day all the time. It seems that if you end up going to Iraq (volunteering to or otherwise) there's a 35% foreign post-differential pay and 35% danger pay in addition to your base compensation.

Friday, October 26, 2007

don't switch the blade on the guy in shades, oh-no

how funny were the 80's? I'm pretty sure I was in middle school when this song came out. What a funny and unique era in time. Corey Hart's somewhat brief wiki-ography can be found here.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

food can make or break a luncheon

I attended a luncheon the other day and the food was horrible. The luncheon location was beautiful, it was in a banquet room at the World Forestry Center. Every window surrounding the octagon shaped room yielded views to a variety of trees in fall colors mixed with deep evergreens. The lighting was nice and the wait staff were really attentive, but I didn't eat much.

click on the picture and get a real close up view of the salad situation.

So lunch was basically this: Three piles of mayonnaise based salads on a plate. Nothing else, no salad, no was really strange. It was essentially a pile of egg salad, a pile of macaroni salad, and a pile of tuna salad. I started eating the tuna with my fork because it looked like the best bet on the plate, when I noticed a plate in the middle of the table with a pile of bread and butter packages stacked on it. What was that all about? Were we supposed to eat bread and butter with our tri-salads, or make our own varied sandwiches? What's with all the mayonnaise anyway? There was a pitcher of coffee on the table that wasn't too bad but I started thinking that tuna and coffee would give me really bad breath, and after the keynote speaker they'll be time to network. Nothing like breathing fishy coffee breath all over someone.

When we were served lunch, I looked over at a couple of my co-workers and saw they were grimacing back at me. One woman mouthed the words, "what is this?" to which I audibly replied, "This definitely isn't Simply Thyme." Simply Thyme is a great place our company used for catering a large function a couple of weeks ago. The polar opposite of what we were eating at the luncheon.

There also was a plate of gross looking cookies and brownies. The brownies looked artificial and had visible droplets of condensation on them. The cookies looked unappetizing also, they looked as if they had milk chocolate chips in them as opposed to the semi-sweet chocolate chip.

Very disappointing. Who thought that was a good idea?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


I've been feeling extra cynical lately and came to the conclusion that there is an incredible lack of quality everywhere, all the time. The only consistent factor is that you can count on some aspect of quality of some good or service you receive to be shitty. Plan on something being late, or wrong, or over billed, broken parts shipped, poor customer service, wrong item, the list goes on infinitely.

We have this issue at work with a vendor who is not giving us what we need, bringing us things late, wrong, ripped, broken, and we've been mis-billed every way you can imagine. Charged $53 for shipping when the company is literally 10 blocks up the street. For $53 bucks I'll walk up there, pick the order up, bring it back and spend less time getting it there sooner. Of course we're going to change to another vendor, but trying to finalize the final order has turned into a complex nightmare. And I've called managers and general managers and so far nobody's calling me back!

This is only one example of many we experience throughout our lives. There are about a hundred tangents I can go over illustrating a complete lack of quality. I guess I'm experiencing whatever the opposite of quality is (inferiority?).

The only saving grace out of all of this are the infrequent pockets of people who take pride in what they do. Like a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day, you'll run into that great example of order, consistency, and courtesy. Of course somewhere along that example of quality's line there is a slacker screwing up the quality somewhere else, but that's okay.

In a similar quality-related story, the Space Shuttle Discovery launched again to deliver parts to the Space Station. As usual, there are concerns about the safety of the shuttle:

Minutes before the final countdown, launch crews discovered a 4-inch-long chunk of ice on a connector between Discovery and the external fuel tank.

The flight went ahead after safety officials decided the piece of ice was too small to pose a hazard, even if it came off during launch and hit the craft.

The whole story can be found here.

After much thought, I feel like I'm observing that there's not a lot of quality around. If there is I'm just focusing on the negatives. I remember thinking about this in depth the last time I traveled on vacation. The lack of quality started in the airport with the e-ticket check in and ended somewhere on the plane between the seat-back tray tables and the recycled pillows and blanket.

Anyway I hope everything goes well for those astronauts. What a dangerous profession, it's a real throw of the dice. I checked with NASA and yes, they are hiring astronaut candidates. The job announcement mentions a salary range for an astronaut from 59,493 to 130,257 a year. Is that salary worth flying into space on the gamble that you may or may not re-enter the earth's atmosphere intact?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Brockman Lights 02: Wild Mammals

my latest collection:

Brockman Lights 02: Wild Mammals

Sunday, October 21, 2007

rainy on Saturday

It was pretty rainy yesterday. We saw police cruisers and fire truckes up the street and went for a walk to investigate. It turned out to be a house fire that didn't cause too much visible damage.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

autistic teen found alive in woods

Over the past few days I've been following the story of the 18 year old autistic young man who wandered away from his family on a hike in West Virginia. He is non-verbal and functions at a 3 or 4 year old level.

The teen, who has the mental capacity of a 3- or 4-year-old, opened his eyes and rolled over to meet his rescuers when Reneau's son, Jeremy Reneau, called out his name.

"He was very quiet, he was nonverbal," said Jeremy Reneau, 25, the first to spot Allen. "But you could tell by his body language he was hungry."

Rescuers fed him candy bars and peanut butter sandwiches and tried to walk him out of the wooded Dolly Sods Wilderness Area, part of the Monongahela National Forest.

When he became too tired, they carried him out on a litter, Reneau said.

you can read the view the whole article here:

Monday, October 15, 2007

recent adventures with the Red Cross

I donated blood on a couple of Mondays ago; there was a blood drive at my work and I got in on the blood action. It was no problem, I've donated blood in the past and I usually appreciate the raisins, crackers and juice they provide. I was really brave; I watched as they inserted the 16 gauge needle into my art. It was kind of freaky and interesting watching my blood spirt into the tubes attached and fill the translucent bags on the other end. I should have photographed the event, but alas I missed my window of opportunity. I guess I had a good strong flow because it only seemed like I was in the chair for 10 minutes.

So on Tuesday I notice that I missed a call on my cell phone and instead of checking the message, I just called the last number back. A switchboard operator answered and said, "Hello, Red Cross, how may I direct your call?" I hung up. I started to wonder about why the Red Cross would call. Was there something wrong with my blood? Did they detect pregnancy? Did I have a disease?? My mind raced through a number of irrational possibilities while I dialed to check my voice mail to see if the message shed any light on the situation. When I finally accessed the message, it was from a volunteer calling to thank me for donating blood.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

a beautiful autumn tree

All the trees are beginning to change color and a fall feel is definitely in the air. A lot of pumpkin things going on -- pumpkin bread, carving pumpkins, and Halloween.Why does spell check insist on capatilizing Halloween? I just scanned through wikipedia, and it seems that spell check and the general public capitalizes Halloween for the sake of capitilizing it.

I made an awesome pumpkin bread the other day, I added some pumpkin butter to the recipe and it was so delicious and dense. I ate a piece and it sat heavy like a lump in my chest until I could wash it down with some hot coffee.

Below is another picture of the yard sale mascot. This cat wouldn't stand still for a picture so the best I could do was his front with his head turned. I think he had ADHD. He wasn't skittish; his behavior could better be described as easily distracted.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

yard sale today!

My friend had a garage sale today, and I came by and brought a car load of things I wanted to get rid of. A third friend also brought her stuff by to sell, so we had a mega sidewalk sale.

Quite a few people came by, and it was a beautiful day. It had been cooler and rainy recently, but today we entered a high pressure system and it was sunny and about 70 degrees.

At one point I met a homeless woman who escaped a domestic violence situation, and drove from El Paso to Portland with all of her possessions packed into an 85 LeBaron with thick plastic covering the areas where the passenger side windows were. I gave her a stereo with 4 speakers and a skirt for $1.00. I also gave her a glass cross; I'm not religious but made one as a test project. I got the impression there might have been demand for this after I received a few requests. I tried to make a prototype, and decided that the process was too time consuming to consider for production. I didn't know what to do with the cross, so I just hung it on the wall.

After I met this woman, I felt that she the person I had to give it to because she kept telling me how blessed she was. She started off thanking me excitedly because of the deal on the stereo, but went on to explain that along the way recovered things she had to leave, has a storage space and has been filling it with free household furnishings. She's been coordinating assistance since she came here and is about to get her own apartment. I gave her the cross and told her it was a housewarming gift.

We also had a yard sale mascot, this little black cat. He seemed like a juvenile and was the friendliest cat I'd ever met. Nobody knew where he came from, he just appeared this morning and spent the day with us and all of the yard salers. He was all over the many boxes of things stacked around, on tables, in clothing piles, and climbed all the trees around the yard sale.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Google Street View

So have you looked at Google's latest gadget and addition to the map feature, Google Street View? It's pretty neat and scary, all rolled into one. My friend and I were looking at our houses, and the clarity is scary. You can kind of see my couch through the window of my apartment. If you haven't already, you should check it out. Many cities are mapped out: Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia, Denver, Las Vegas, and about 10 more cities and nearby areas.

It really does seem like big brother though every time I think about the clarity and details in the view of my apartment. Some street views have cars or people in the frames, so now I'm thinking "what day did they take these pictures, and where was I?"

One frame has a homeless man and his shopping cart in it. I wonder how many views in how many cities have a similar view?

I found this picture by accident; I was trying to recall the name of a thrift store on this corner for a friend, and while looking at this picture she pointed the guy and his cart out to me.

Another funny thing we watched last night was giraffe fighting. I can't believe I haven't watched this before now.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

it all happens so quickly

here we are again, early almost mid October and there's clearly a seasonal change occurring. It's been a little damper and cooler, and we cranked the heater on earlier this week to dry out our clothes and hopefully combat the mold starting to grow again in the corner of the ceiling in my room. I like fall but I have to say that I like every season--they all have a distinct vibe and feeling, and seasonal foods are great too. It seems like just yesterday I was eating nectarines and cherries. I clearly remember where I bought the last bag of cherries; it was from a roadside stand, somewhere on rural hwy 26 between Portland and the coast. The guy was packing up and it was a instant impulse to pull over at see if I could get some cherries, and he sold me a quart for $6 bucks. They were delicious.

I was shopping earlier at Trader Joe's and bought pumpkin bread mix and some fresh pumpkin butter. I don't regret seasons changing; instead it reminds me that time marches on and I'm getting older. I don't feel old but I do feel that I have some experience in life that I can look back on. When I was in my 20's many of my experiences were new beyond the controlled environment of my teenage years, and going forward from present I have a variety of things to compare current events to. It's interesting and often I think about where I'm living, where I lived, people I've known and current relationships, the history of things, observing change, all sorts of things. It's amazing how complex humans are.

I also have a theory that as we spend more time on the planet in our bodies, our perception of the speed of the earth's rotation is faster and the amount of speed in which time and events pass is faster with each passing moment. Like a gradual fast forward. I consider this theory because I clearly remember being in my 9th grade algebra class and time just really taking it's time, the 56 minute class lasted a minimum of an eternity. There were times when I was younger when I couldn't believe how long Sunday mass was. Or going to catechism on Tuesdays after school. Shopping with my mom. Now the days, weeks and months whiz by. If I blink too often I miss something. I find I never have time for all the things I want to do. And it just seems to get faster. It's not too bad now, but I'm sure it will sneak up on me and I'll be 67 before I know it.

Monday, September 24, 2007

happy autumn equinox!

Yesterday was the first day of Autumn, and I could feel the crisp cool undertones in the air as I rode my bike around town. I can see that the trees are in the early stage of transition, all of the flowers and produce growing are either dying or dead, waiting to be cleaned up for the season change.

We're back from our New England adventure, and after traveling across the United States and back, I have to surmise that there are two distinct classes of people: the people who have extra and everyone else. This was really evident during aircraft boarding procedures and observations of the actual level of customer service both on the plane and in the airport. Funny, the strange and unspoken relationships you develop with the people sitting near and around you.

My New England pictures can be viewed by clicking here.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

live free or die

I've been in New Hampshire since Saturday night, and I have to observe that it's absolutely beautiful here. The weather for the first part of our trip was cool and really rainy, but yesterday the sun came out and the blue skies opened up.

Buckets of rain when we first arrived!

cutthroat scrabble game (and I won both games!)

I really like visiting different towns and reigons of the country to observe the small differences--supermarket names, the way the streets are set up, common franchises, all the strange accents, and especially in New England there's a lot of a colonial element, towns founded in 1623 and 1637. Many old stone walls, some I'm sure are at least 300 years old. The houses and structures have a distinct look that I've not seen anywhere else.

I have hundreds of photos I'm going to post soon. I'm still behind from the pictures I took last weekend!

distant lighthouses hard at work today!

The first part of our trip we stayed with one of Ric's sisters who lives in a remote country area. It's still in town, but you can see every star at night and don't hear much besides the frogs chirping. There also wasn't a cell signal, but it shouldn't matter because I'm on vacation, right?

Lots of $6 lobster. I've had a great deal of delicious chowder and seafood since I've been here.

Portsmouth, NH and the Memorial Bridge.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

stuff, things, places and linoleum

This morning, approximately 5:2o AM Ric and I embarked upon a cross country adventure to New Hampshire. We are flying indirectly into Manchester, via Phoenix and Charlotte. Right now we're in Phoenix (PHX) awaiting our 9:05 AM boarding call to our Charlotte (CLT) connection.

To catch up again, I've been using a great deal of vacation time to enjoy the end of the summer. Last week my friend Tom from NYC visited, and Ric and I toured him through all the varied landscapes Oregon has to offer.

Stuff: I'll have pictures, or at the very least links to pictures coming soon.

Things: My friend Nisa has turned me on to taking photos of stencil graffiti throughout Portland. Many of those intersting finds also coming soon.

Places: While Tom was in town, we visited Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Hood, eastern Oregon, the Oregon Coast and Ft. Stevens, and of course visited around town. Also, I'm sure I'll have a plethora ('scuse me senior, what ees a Plethora?) of New Hampshire (Noo Hampsha) coming soon. The coming soon part all depends on the reliability of my internet connection of course, but I'm sure there's at least a wifi coffee house where we're going.

Linoleum: I just like the word linoleum and thought I'd add it.

Even though my blog goes through stages of dormancy, I'm still constantly jotting down ideas, the wheels don't stop turning and I'm always distracted by the shiny glimmer of other unrelated thoughts.

Nisa is a great friend, she volunteered to drive us to the airport at 4 AM this morning. I had to wake up at 3:30 to shower and get ready, which was a real challenge. I caught about an hour of other level of consciousness while on the flight to Phoenix, but it wasn't sleep because I was still aware of what was going on around me. I was listening to pre-recorded radio programs in a relaxed and semi-comfortable state. On the ride to the airport Nisa shared airline horror stories with us, such as the amount of fecal matter that was detected on the tray tables (thanks Dateline). Another story she shared which really grossed out Ric was when she was flying and requested a blanket from the stewardess. She unfolded the blanket and it was covered in dried puke. I can't seem to get that story out of my head, and recalled the story as I watched the woman behind me snuggle up in her airline blanket.

Very fun! They're about to call us for boarding so more from Charlotte.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

happy landings (sort of)

The shuttle survived re-entry, those lucky astronauts. Upon inspection of the Endeavor, maintenance crews noticed the gash on the belly had increased in size, but not to the point where it allowed dangerous gases to be exposed to the re-entry heat.

How come I feel the US Space Program can be compared to a game of roulette? Isn't it time we re-engineer and design the space vehicles we're using to reflect updated technology?

Holy mackerel.

Monday, August 20, 2007

circadian rhythms

Tomorrow's the big day, the day that the Space Shuttle returns to earth. I'm anxious to see how it all pans out; there's a giant gash on the belly of the shuttle and NASA has determined that it's not critical, and won't affect shuttle re-entry. I have to say that I'm holding my breath for those terrified astronauts.

I wonder how it will all work out.

The space shuttle seemed so amazing when I was learning about it's first flight as a kid, way back in 1981. I was impressed that it took off like a rocket and landed like a plane. I don't know why, but I thought it was very innovative. Even when the teacher in space thing ended horribly, I still didn't lose faith, thinking that it was a glitch, an unfortunate by product of technology and space advancement. I was so tuned into Star Wars and had a strong affinity for science fiction, I accepted that you need to make a few mistakes to learn from them. I thought the Challenger disaster was a short leap to personal space crafts, or seeing many Millennium Falcon's in the sky as commonplace.

My naivety and positive outlook polarized in 2003 when the Columbia disintegrated over Texas upon re-entry. I allowed adult cynicism to wash over me and surmised that NASA, like everything else in life, is sub-standard, doing the minimum to get the job faster and save a buck. I'm sure someone, somewhere knew that controls and all the checks and balances weren't computing, but for whatever reason--human error and the law of infinite reactions with regard to unforeseen cosmic forces--the situation (and shuttles) have deteriorated to something less then a desired outcome.

Good luck, crew of the Endeavor.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

new action figures!

Amanda Lepour: The latest addition from the Heatherette Empire. Here's the photo shoot that took place at my apartment:

another new acquisition, Agustus, the smoking Monger from Series II: The Menthols

and of course Marcus had to get in on the photoshoot action. He's doing his best to look as if he's not going to knock my action figures over.

Monday, August 13, 2007

it's been awhile...

Practically a month! So much has happened in such a short time. Let's see...

I went to the Country Fair:

It was fun, a great time. There was great music and dancing, a positive energized atmosphere, and many smiling people there. I went with a friend who introduced me to one of her friends, who was working at the fair at a booth. The booths weren't like typical festival 10x10 canopied spots; they were these elaborate wooden two story structures strategically nestled into groves of trees and woods.

The great thing about knowing someone who works at the fair is you can spend time in the back of their booth relaxing during the hottest part of the day, meet other people who are sharing the workload at that particular booth, and listen to great music. My friend's friend (introduced to me as "Squirt") was really friendly, knew her way quickly around the fairgrounds (on my own I felt as if I were going around in circles) and never ceased to offer me food and drink. The hospitality I received was amazing.

I went to Seattle again for work:

That was the last time I ate a solid meal. I ended getting sick early in the morning after I returned. When I wasn't vomiting or hallucinating, I spent much of my time suspecting any number of things I ate in Seattle as being a food poisoning culprit. All it takes is one dirty bus boy who didn't wash after he wiped his ass to accidentally touch the inside of my water glass. Yuck.

Could it be possible that the cupcake I ate made me sick??

The very last thing I ate before I became violently ill was a chocolate cupcake. The second to last thing I ate before I became sick was BBQ chicken. I now gag whenever I think of chocolate cupcakes or BBQ.

One of the things I ate the day before I became sick...could it have been the spinach? the chicken?

I got really sick [sorry, no pictures of this]:

According to Kaiser Permanente, nothing was wrong with me. My reality was spent at least 3 days out of work, mostly on the toilet with a bucket in my lap or writhing in agony on my bed. I couldn't drink or eat anything for 3 days. By the 4th day, I was successfully drinking sips of water, vegetable broth and ginger ale (the organic kind, not the high fructose corn syrup kind). I also had a migraine so severe any smells, sounds, or light would make me vomit or cause my head to pound. After 5 days I felt pretty good, just very weak from starving and still had diahreha so severe I felt as if someone was dumping a bowl of water into the toilet. My lack of solid stools after so many days started to concern me.

In the middle of all of this, I went to the doctor and submitted a "sample." At this point I suspected a mutated super-virus, food poisoning of every type, and cancer. (I didn't consider cancer until about the 4th day of feeling horrible). It took Kaiser a week to determine the results, and by that time the illness was all but a bad memory. They charged me an additional fee on top of co-pays for the useless lab results, and I'm sure they think I made it all up.

I'm so glad to be better.

I displayed my glass art again at the Utopia Cafe:

I didn't sell too much this time but also didn't have much time between shows to produce a whole new series of material. I don't mind if I don't sell too much, it's nice to have my art showing at a business and impressive to take a friend out to breakfast where my art is showing.

I saw the new Harry Potter movie.

I also read the synopsis and end to the final Harry Potter book. I know who dies!

I bought more action figures from The Missing Link!

Photos coming soon, but here's photos of my most recently acquired Heatherettes to hold you over:

I think that catches things up. I anticipate doing a great deal of hiking and visiting other places soon, so that will generate more interesting photos.