Friday, May 31, 2013

In Memoriam...

Fatality on 20th and Madison

I vaguely remember hearing that earlier this week there had been a traffic fatality on 20th and Madison. At the time I couldn’t place the location…that sounds like an intersection near me…why can’t I place it…oh! Then it hit me, it was a few blocks from my place and was an intersection that I passed through quite a few times a week. This spot was on my bike route to work and I also pass this area whenever I go for a walk. Once I was able to mentally place where this was, the severity of trauma seemed odd to me. 20th and Madison was pretty residential, one of the many eclectic neighborhood pockets in this town.  This intersection is off of a low-key, 25-mph restaurant/shopping artery radiating out from downtown (if you could consider that the heart).

This morning I rode my bike into work—it’s such a beautiful morning and my awesome ride is also all downhill. (Returning home and the steady incline are another story, but for purposes of continuity we’ll stick with the ride in). The last thing I was thinking about was the traffic fatality that occurred earlier this week; it had completely dropped off of my radar in the swirl of term papers, finals, work presentations, fiscal years ending, performance reviews, and personal recreational pursuits. When I rode past the fateful intersection, I notice the graphic design/printing business on the corner had a boarded up entrance. Upon closer inspection, I also noticed a sign asking customers to enter from the rear and also some kind of makeshift memorial. I was perplexed, still not connecting the dots about the fatality earlier this week, and started to read some of the messages placed there in hopes that it would give me a clue as to what happened. I am not sure why, but at first I thought there was a fire in the building and this man who passed away was an employee. That was not the case.

 As I read the messages, it did little to clear up the mystery and added to my heavy heart. There was a picture, the victim looked young. There were heartbreaking notes from his parents and friends, and a basketball with a touching message written on it with a sharpie.  There were bouquets of flowers wrapped in paper that were still perky and fresh. This did little to connect the dots for me and as I observed the boarded up business entrance, I noticed that the building looked as if something crashed into it and the plywood was covering up the gaping hole where the front doors had been.

At that moment, I had an epiphany: this is where a car involved in the fatality crashed.

I got back on my bike and rode away, tears welling up in my eyes. I started to feel an overwhelming crushing sadness and as my eyes started to spill onto my cheeks I tried to talk myself down…I didn’t even know who was hit, why am I so emotionally invested? Is PMS at play? Am I picking up vibes from confused spirits still lingering at the scene?

After I got into work, I hopped on the computer and started to look for any clue about what happened. A Google search yielded this article, “Memorial Day Weekend: Fatalities Up, DUIIs Down.” After reading through this depressing article, I came across this paragraph filling the gaps:

“* On Sunday, May 26, at approximately 2:19 a.m., three vehicles were involved in a serious injury crash at SE 20th Avenue and SE Madison Street in Portland. Several people were injured including a 28-year old male who reportedly died Monday night at a Portland-area hospital. A 26-year old man was subsequently arrested for several charges including DUII, hit & run, and reckless driving, with additional charges pending. Another involved driver was also cited for DUII. Portland Police Bureau is the lead investigating agency.”

Further searching found this blurb repeated by several news outlets around the state and was picked up by some national news aggregates.  I also found some information on the police newsflash site which also showed a mugshot of the piece of shit that chose to drink and drive, then proceed to drive through a stop sign and kill someone. Sorry if that sounded harsh, but it’s people like this who lack self-awareness and have a disregard for personal responsibility that is behind our world going to hell in a slow-moving hand basket.

I hope the victim is resting in peace, and if not, I hope he is haunting the fuck out of the guy who killed him.

Friday, May 24, 2013

headed up to the farm for the weekend

I'll be farm sitting for the next few days.... this will consist of alternating between animal welfare checks and working on two term papers and a presentation. This is an especially high productivity time of year for me and when I think about the amount of things due next week I start to get dizzy. 

I really like visiting the farm; it's peaceful and I always experience a high degree of relaxation when I'm there. For the most part anyway...there's an unpleasant and easily annoyed llama under my charge this weekend but I think we can work out a compromise. Something that makes me feel like I have the upper hand is to enter the barn with a shield to fend off any puke/spit.

Ha ha...just out of spit range! Go ahead and spit your heart out.
Sometimes I give the llama the finger and that makes me feel better.

Evil llama aside, I'm hoping that being in a relaxed state will provide more inspiration for the assignments I'm planning on working on. I'm tying up a hundred and one loose ends this morning and by this time tomorrow I'll be in rural Oregon bliss.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Washman-Shell on SE 10th and Powell

Here's the footage from my local car wash I couldn't figure out to upload in the last post. The music playing in the background is "Trekka" by Puscifer, off of their V is for Vagina album. It's kind of hard to hear the music over the sounds of the car wash machinery and water jets.

My car gets pretty dirty because it sits unused most of the time. I'm very fortunate that I can walk and bike to most of the places I have to go. One downside from not using my car seems to be that it's an aviary fecal target. Every bird in the neighborhood decides to shit on my car and it gets pretty disgusting. Another downside is that this seems to happen regardless of where I'm parking, whether it's in front of my place or strategically parked down the street, away from trees or telephone wires. We've also had some large trees heavily pollenating the neighborhood so the Washman is great place to clear those layers of crap off (both literally and figuratively).

I like this gas station/car wash marriage. The staff are nice, efficient and thorough. They always tape my rear windshield wiper down before entering into the car wash and tell me to have a nice day. It's in a great location--it's easy to access and leave from. The staff also don't laugh at me when I'm trying to line up my front left tire with the automated car wash track. (You would think with all of the practice I've had that I'd have it down by now). 

Sometimes I like to fake them out and move my tire in the opposite direction of the conveyer track just to see them wildly wave and use hand signals to get me back on track.  

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Cask of Unrelated Asides

Something occurred to me today and has been dominating my thoughts with a haunting force for the past few hours. It seemed an encounter I had today opened something else that had been walled off. This conjures visions of "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allen Poe. Not unlike Montresor, I led my feelings and interactions down the damp and dimly lit passage and walled them up in the deep catacombs. 

I have a pretty intense job. I try to minimize it by getting caught up in the details of business and process, but when it comes down to it, these widgets are people--unique individual vignettes where drama and circumstance intersect. Looking back, I see an infinite road lined with a lot of people and a lot of stories. At this point in my life, I've been working in this capacity for about 2 1/2 years. Hard to believe it's been this long! I enjoy what I do and am making these gigantic professional leaps. I'm also learning about many of the challenges people face and having that additional insight is both a blessing and a curse. 

Even though I can't get into any specifics here about my experiences, I am preserving these thoughts and feelings for the right time. And of course, names and details are always changed to protect identity. 

On an unrelated aside, an interesting and so far effective strategy is to embrace the people who hate your guts. Seriously. Not go overboard or anything, but just use language like "what can I do to support you?" or "what can I do to help?" It not only disarms adversaries, it puts them in a position of either cooperating (and knocking the bullshit off) or showing their fucked up side. Either way the high road is the one to take. In addition to resolving the situation, your heart and soul will also feel better for it. 

On another completely unrelated note, I took some video from inside the parking garage a while ago. Someone at the front of the pack was going very slowly in the off chance there was an overlooked parking spot somewhere before the 11th floor, which is the minimum level our group will be parking on. I never understand these people who drive very slow through parking garages. 

I had some great footage of going through the car wash however it was about 2 1/2 minutes, which somehow was too big for whatever I'm doing on blogger. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

It's raining, and that isn't anything special or unusual

(especially for this time of year). I became aware of the rain a few moments ago; it just picked up in intensity and I heard it through the open window. A very robust rhododendron pushes its full lilac-colored blooms against the glass of the window and are serving to amplify this evening spring shower. It's very serene and nice to listen to, it's a great background for homework and an episode of PBS Frontline.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

You cannot unsee the restored face of Jesus.

I know this is totally old but it still cracks me up! There's a lot of funny memes and pictures still out there. When I need a laugh, I just google "bad fresco jesus" and voila! 

I like how the woman who botched up this painting had the cojones to ask for royalties from the church. They are charging tourists to take a look at this disaster and she wants in on the action. I found a hilarious article about this in the Business Insider. 

Meanwhile, in other "Business Insider" news, Margaret Cho apparently outed John Travolta as gay. I'm trying to understand how this is related to business, but just not seeing it. 

Saturday, May 04, 2013

I find your lack of faith disturbing.

People are dying all the time. This cycle of life-death-life continues on and on, without discrimination, without considering other timelines, other events, other factors involved. Death occurs on it’s own terms and doesn’t deal with any kind of bargaining, hiding, outrunning or outsmarting. Like many of you, I learned about the passing of Slayer’s metal god guitarist Jeff Hanneman last Thursday. Slayer was a staple metal band that I grew up with and they also helped me through some of those teenage rough patches I experienced growing up. I am especially saddened about his passing after hearing his cause of untimely demise—it seems like a poison spider bite gave him a flesh-eating disease, necrotizing fasciitis. That somehow led to liver failure 2 days ago and as a result Jeff has left this plane of existence.

I really enjoy Slayer’s music, specifically Reign in Blood, South of Heaven, and Seasons in the Abyss. Their other work is great too, but the three albums I mentioned in the preceding sentenence really had an impact on my teen development, they served as a part of my daily routine for quite a few years.  

I saw Slayer in concert one year, I can’t remember what year but I’m willing to bet it was late 80’s. It was one of those “Clash of the Titans” or some such named tour—there were four headlining powerhouses. I’m willing to bet the bands I also saw in at the same event were Testament, Anthrax and Megadeth. I remember it was a totally badass concert and I was really impressed by the energy and showmanship they displayed. I knew so much of their material and I remember singing along with every song with the exception of when I was in the pit.

When I was trying to find out more information about Jeff Hanneman’s death, I stumbled across a Huffington Post article that discussed all of the people who have died so far in 2013. Let me tell you it’s quite a lot. It’s like a perpetual thing that is occurring all of the time, this ending of individual existences. About 105 people die each minute and it’s a given that a certain percentage of them will be celebrities. It's mind blowing to even consider! 

On a funny aside, when I was trying to find out what the death or mortality rate was, I had a bunch of funny google suggestions populate:

So many new things to think about. 

Curious, I continued reading the Huffington Post article about other celebrities who have died so far in 2013 and guess who else died? This guy!

Don't try to frighten us with your sorcerer's ways, Lord Vader. Your sad devotion to that ancient Jedi religion has not helped you conjure up the stolen data tapes, or given you enough clairvoyance to find the rebels' hidden fortress...chrklsjsjkl** gasp** 
I can’t believe it. If you had told me his name, I’d have no idea who you were talking about. But seeing his picture--as the Death Star Admiral who mocks Darth Vader, I get a little misty eyed and feel a sort of detached sadness as if I just learned a distant relative died.

Heh...look how Grand Moff Tarkin just sits there trying to nonchalantly play it off like he knew Vader was going to do that all along and isn't some kind of mechanical powerhouse loose cannon. 

So now I know who Richard LeParmentier is and some of the details that surrounded his life. I’m not clear on how he died and all that I can find is that he was visiting family in Texas and died suddenly. Maybe it was the force choke catching up with him!

One of the other things I learned is that he was married to Sarah Douglas for a few years in the early 1980’s. Who is Sarah Douglas you ask? 

So this is planet Houston.
I think she is pretty cool and follow her on Twitter.
Richard LeParmentier was also in Octopussy and Who Framed Roger Rabbit in some role that was less than starring. He really doesn’t stand out to me as being especially remarkable (outside of his Star Wars gig, which was pretty awesome) but I am glad that he got some work. I hope he was happy when he passed away.

I also learned that Pauline Phillips, who was also known as “Dear Abby,” passed away earlier this year after “a long battle with Alzheimer’s.” Reading that makes me think there was a lot of time spent entertaining inane conversation and unusual activities. I wonder if she was giving our wacky advice around the time she started displaying symptoms.