Monthly Archives: August 2003

Bachelor Party – Part 1 – The River

As I’m going to be married in less than a week my friends threw me a bachelor party yesterday. We had quite a good time but nobody got any photos so for the record, I’ll talk about it here. I was already a bit hungover before it even started, so N and I went to the gym (!?) to work out some of the previous night’s alcohol…oddly enough, the strategy worked and I felt a lot better. I’m even thinking about applying it again today. S was at my house shirtless when we got back, “letting the sunscreen soak in,” and put a slick straw hat atop of my head as we approached. I implored him to allow me a quick shower before we went, which I got, as well time to put together an overnight bag and to grab a bagel dog (onion). We got to D’s at 12:30, and had a coupla beers while people showed up…me, SS, the albatross, BB, WB, RB, DD, and A-train. R’d rented a monster van, so we loaded that up and piled into it with inner tubes and many pumps and headed off to Washougal for a nice day rafting, B driving the dropoff vehicle. We listened to Blackalicious because T wouldn’t have any of that Maiden crap.

We could see from the road that the water in the Washougal was very low, and that we’d likely have to walk some sections, but we went for it anyway. At the put-in spot, we unloaded, had some beer, smeared sunblock over our Oregon-tanned physiques, and inflated the tubes. The water was fantastic, refreshing and cool. But not very fast, which was alright because we just needed to get down before we ran out of beer. We frolicked, splashing and tossing a coupla footballs feebly between tubes, but the strategy quickly became one of getting the ball to land just short and out of reach of the person for maximal splash-quotient since nobody could catch the ball one-handed while laying on their back anyway, though both A and T showed sporadic acumen, and D surprised me with some decent spirals. It was a very fun trip down, and a lot of PBR was consumed. There was a rope swing at a bend in the river that was pretty wide, slow, and deep. A very nice rope swing, cobbled together from several different pieces of rope that looke to have been there different amounts of time, which was a bit worrisome. T blazed the trail to the swing, and tested it for us. Looked good, so a few more of us gave it a go, even braving the sun-bleached platform that creaked and swayed under my weight. Most of us took several jumps before W raised the bar with a jacknife. I decided to do a flip, but chickened out on the next jump. I’d succeeded in the past, even at a double front, so I decided that I really needed to now. So my last swing I did, and actually pulled it off cleanly (no flop, not no splash).

Back on the river after the aside, and efforts to get the wet lighter to work (too many wet thumbs) eventually succeeeded, we went through the last set of rapids (pretty rocky with the water this low). The tricky part for me was my portage. The boys had given me Annie, an inflatable love you ewe, which they roped to me. At the river we had to daisy chain the beer cooler and Annie onto my wrist, so I had to assure the safe arrival of my charges, and was popular quite often when one grew thirsty. Just for the record, a cooler full of cans of beer and ice will float just fine. If you think about it, an empty cooler floats, ice floats, and cans of beer float. So putting two floating things into one floating thing will result in a floating thing. Bottles may or may not work, depending on quantity, but using glass for such events is questionable due to the breakage factor…just be responsible.

The final stetch was beautiful. The sun was just starting to get a bit low, and the air was cooling down, but not too much. Some nice girls on the shore identified the bachelor party through Annie, and said some sweet things, like if we needed strippers for that evening. We got back to shore and struggled up the path to the car with full hands. R got stuck carrying the cooler up. I should’ve helped, but I didn’t, and he didn’t ask, but R’s that kinda fellow. B and R took B’s car up to get the mega van. I believe that the measued the road distance between spots to be 1.6 miles. The rest of us stayed behind and deflated tubes and peed into the bushes, even A-train with his stage fright, I believe. We ran by Freddy’s on the way home for food and more beer, and I wanted to stop by the fancy cigarettes store (next to Horse Brass) for some Shepherd Hotels or Nat Sherman Lights, neither of which did they carry so I got Galouis and Natty regular kings.

This was a great frickin trip, and a really nice way to start a great day. Thanks to everyone who came, I think y’all are great! btw, for anyone who actually read to the end of this, as clarity of different events changes I may add a bit more material just for the historical record. There will probably be two more parts to the tale, as that seems the best way to split it up. cheers.

He’s a Winter

Thus speaketh Ann Coulter of Saddam Hussein. Well, the rest of her article is a bit meatier that than but holy crap, what a bunch of antagonistic flag-waving, divisive drivel. This lady really sucks. I hadn’t really read much by her to this point and if this represents the quality of her work, how the hell did she ever get out of Denny’s or wherever she crawled out of. The sad thing is is that this represents a fair quantity of the conservative talk-show/newswriter tone—some ornery, overconfident righty who spews very contrary conclusions out of unrelated evidence.

The most confusing part to me is that I’ve spoken to a lot of Republicans and Bush supporters, and beyond the ones who can’t think for themselves (these are on all sides), a lot have well thought out opinions which really have nothing to do with anything that their leadership is driving them towards. I’ve realized recently (not too recently, but for the lucidity of it) that the Republican Party is one strongly based on buzzwords and images, dreams and nostalgia. It draws its voters in with those tools. The Grande ‘ole knows that logicking is tough, so it just needs to voodoo some sweet home pictures together with corporate sweetheart deals, and its members won’t catch the pass. Many Republicans are perfectly reasonable, well-meaning people, many are intelligent and open-minded.

At some point in their lives, people place their stakes in the ground. Not everyone, but many. At that point, you’ve commited. It is so hard to admit wrongness that even when the thing that you believed in turns into something different you can’t call it out, but instead become more solid in your position. I believe that this is what is happening right now. We need to turn this situation away from the ‘us&them’ , or as Ann reminds us, “You are with the terrorists or you are with America.” It’s amazing how the Administration has coopted the words patriotism and America. We need to reach out and find a common ground. I believe that there’s a lot more overlap than either side wants to believe, as long as you eliminate the leadership.

An aside, I believe the two-party system is obsolete and wrong. Either many parties or no parties is the way to go. We need to dissolve the national commitees of both to truly move forward. Corporations should have no rights as citizens. They have absolutely no business even buying a frickin cookie at the mall for my representatives. I will not support any politician who does not at least show evidence that they think this is a reasonable thought except in the face of worse alternatives. Take campaign finance reform as an issue to bond on with somebody who wants to be contrary, it will open the door to more agreements. Leave out the particulary grey issues like abortion and gun control, there’s little value in such an argument.

Your assignment for this holiday weekend is to find someone with contrary political views to yours and find agreement somewhere. If you fail at that you have to glue a picture of Ann Coulter to your butt.

powells wtf

So, I’m a bit upset with Powell’s Books lately. They have a mountain of freakin books, a city even, yet three of the last four books that I’ve gone there looking for (actually maybe more) have been out of stock. What is particularly frustrating is that I see by the website that they are located in this warehouse or that. What are sixteen copies of Parasite Rex and ten copies of the armchair economist doing in warehouses when they are popular books that are not available in your flagship store? This trend has become more and more common there. Some books they just claim haven’t been published yet, like California Rancho Cooking, which I’d held in my hands at New Seasons and seen available at amazon.com (they stock it now, and thanks Claire for the recommendation). Isolated, these wouldn’t be significant, just a bit annoying, but together they feel a bit like a trend. Has anyone else noticed this sort of problem at Powell’s? There also is the sad transition away from book lovers for the Customer Support desks. I used to ask about a book, and the person I asked would not just know the book but chat about it, or we’d discuss some others, and I’d walk away with a few recommendations. I wonder if there is any relation to the unionization of the employees.

Mars Attacks

well, maybe not, but it is a great pinball machine, and Mars will be as close as you’ll ever know tonight. Here’s the JPL’s site on viewing Mars. Cheers, and happy gazing.

The Queen

One might expect tattoos and piercings to be in abundance a Lollapalooza, and this is quite true of tattoos. Piercings were not a notable decoration this year, however. Of particular note was a couple (who may or may not have been together in any way), one of whom, the male, had a really cool tattoo of a turtle on his back. It was intricate and large. The lady next to him had one consiting of words only, large letters, reading Queen Pain. Not Queen of Pain, not The Pain Queen, but Queen Pain, scribed permanently into her light complextion. I gazed between these two tattoos, and then as Jane’s Addiction came onstage, between the bearers of them to see Dave and other playing an instrumental opening, Home or something like that (don’t know the name). Perry Farrel came onstage at the end, and they broke into Been Caught Stealing. Bam! The instant the tempo stepped up, Queen Pain did something to me. I didn’t see it coming, it was some sort of reverse charge, perhaps with an elbow, or maybe torso only, but she just about knocked the wind out of me. She used me as a springboard to jump into the pit, and was away.

lollapalooza

The Lollapalooza spectacle swooped down on the Portland area this Sunday. Many bands were there to rock the fields out at Colombia Meadows out west of St. Helens, and the kiddies were prepared with counter-culture in tow. I went with some friends (N, W, L, H) after having a few pints and a chicken sandwich at McBeer’s. We totally missed the first act, but that’s okay because we were down with catching the Donna (2nd), which we did in full. They put on their usual spunky wiseass act, and were a lot of fun, but the set was too short.

The second stage is always a bummer for me because it plays at the same time as the main stage. It would much better if it filled in the gaps between the bigger bands. Kings of Leon sounded interesting, but I only caught a little bit of their show. The Portland show was the last date on the tour, as well as being on a Sunday following the Saturday Seattle show, and it felt like it. The spectacle wasn’t as great as other Lollapaloozas that I’ve been to in the past. I think the space at the Meadows could’ve been used more effectively…as it was the only thing ‘shocking’ was all the ladies wandering around with painted chests. Maybe the’ve embraced the commercialism far too much…where before I’d come across Timothy Leary talking some digital dream, now they have an Xbox enclave with competitions and all, and a 3 hour line to Meet the Artists. Neither of which did I participate in.

The music was grand. The beers were expensive, but no more than at a Blazer’s game. I gained new appreciation for both A Perfect Circle and Audioslave. I’d already quite enjoyed Audioslave, but they shredded the show. All of the performers were having a blast, and there were a lot of guest appearances between the bands, which made for a more relaxed show. There were a lot of jams, and apparent experiments. All of this made for a really cool and relaxed show.

Jane’s Addiction headlined and put on a great show. Most of their set consisted of their classics, with a Jane Says encore, and then Perry left the stage and Maynard came on and sang Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir for the last song of the tour. Very cool all-around.

Monkeyhands

I’m going to see if they’ll code up a less buggy Windows. Happy Friday.

anti-tax hoohaa

Bigair Fred has a disturbing, lucid rant about the anti-tax scams and where they’re leading us. A good read, so get on it.

Apples to Applesauce

Iraq continues to be ugly. Maybe it grows uglier. The situation there, that is. The one created by prezzo and his keepers. Soldiers keep being shot, and building continue to blow up. People are dying. Sure, that’s part of war, I understand that. It does not appear that we’re on the way to stabilizing the place. I now read that the US has asked for increased assistance from that horrible, outdated, useless drag of an organization, the UN. I’m not exactly sure what the US is asking for because of statements like this

But a senior White House official told CNN the United States would draw the line at giving up primary military or political control of the transition in Iraq.

“We will maintain the chain of command. The United States is spending 95 percent of the money to maintain Iraq until the economy is up and running. We have accountability issues,” the official said.

At least they’re being a little less coy about it. I just had an idea…what with Vera not running for reelection, maybe she should get involved with the reconstruction effort there…I’d love to open up a Pizzacato in Baghdad.

Flood the Zone

Some non geniuses have cleverly put together a scheme to add a bit of chaos to the happy right world of prezzo. (note to self: ooh, I’ve been searching for the right nick for W, and I think I may have just hit on it….ahhh, prezzo). Check out this bit of action that is only possible through the internet because even if I could’ve made the protest today I couldn’t so all I can to is TYPE LOUDER. But, it looks like a good time and it’ll force them to figure out new ways to ignore us. via TBOGG.

Yo soy Mexico


You’re Mexico!
While some people think you’re poor and maybe a little corrupt, you
know where it’s at, enjoying good food and nice beaches.  You like to take things a
little slower than those around you, and you really wish the air were cleaner, but sometimes
compromises must be made.  For some reason, Chevrolet keeps trying to sell you Novas
as well, even though they don’t really go.

Take
the Country Quiz at the Blue Pyramid

What the heck are the leading Republicans trying to accomplish? Utter destruction of this nation? The creation of a slave nation? Or are they simply so utterly corrupt that they do the bidding of the corporate leaders? It has become so utterly clear to me that deregulation of power and media are not just bad ideas, but horrible, disastrous ones, that I cannot comprehend how they could even suggest it. The effects of deregulation have made themselves totally clear in California, New York, Brazil, and in the media as quality gets worse, news coverage thins, commercials become more prevalent, and reporting more biased. Jack directs us to an interesting NYT Krugman article overviewing the power side of this issue a little. Now, it’s a matter of what do we do? I can blog till my fingers bleed, but these bastards will continue pulling these stunts, and getting away with it, while the American sheople bleat and nod. There must be an answer. Remember that this is our country. The airwaves are ours, and the resources are ours. We must get them back.

baseball

It’s decision time. So we’ll probably be committed to something one way or another by the next time the Diamondbacks with the World Series. I read a lot of conflicting opions on whether a baseball stadium (pro, with team) would be beneficial of parasitic to our little town. This has been one of the more interesting issues to watch because the lines in the sand are totally skewed from the usual stances. If we could turn the dial to up the rabidity of the opinions then we’d really be having a lot of fun.

I’m not really a baseball fan. It’s one of the few things that you could put onto a television that doesn’t make it hard for me to focus on whatever else I’m doing (like drinking a beer). That’s not a bad thing, necessarily. But it doesn’t draw me to games. $1 beers draw me to games. or evern better, free beer. Having been to a few Beavers games, I just don’t see that Portland has the draw for major league baseball.

The biggest single reason that I hear for getting a team here is that it ‘won’t cost anything’. Which means: free jobs, new revenue, status as a ‘real city’, and baseball. The first two a super. The third, I’m perfectly happy with Portland as the Sunday stop for Lollapalooza. And fourth, baseball, sure, sounds great, maybe Damon can hit.

And reasons why not seem to include, the there’s no free lunch rule, which is probably truer than those for think and less true than the againsts want to believe. There’s the whole, well, wtf are we gonna put this thing problem. I think we should build a floating stadium on the Wilamette. Downtown parking too! And little things like parking, and the support industry to support a baseball stadium…what will all those triket stands and burger stands do a a neighborhood? And what about the glimmering success of PGE park? Just let that run down the drain?

Overall, I’m an apathetic YAY to the getting a baseball team. If we were regularly to fill PGE full of avid baseball fans, I’d be more enthusiastic. But I’m not. I just feel that the positives for our little ecosystem outweigh the negatives, and I might have some fun at a game every now and then. Emma (Oregon Blog) and Jack (Jack Bog) have both posted some interesting perspectives on this issue recently, and I recommend that you check them out.

On the new server

If you’re seeing this then the transition is through and you’re seeing this page from a new server…not the one in my office any more.

blackout

Greg Palast writes some pretty infuriating articles. I’ve been reading his book, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, and browse his site from time to time. But this article, tying together Enron, GB, GWB, England, the CA blackouts, and the NY blackouts had me shaking with anger. To hear about these looters who have somehow managed to position themselves at the top of the country and paste on facades of honor and decency, it makes me furious, sad, and hopeful, and defeated all at once. These people have redefined the rules, gone back and overturned the regulations that kept them merely wealthy, and are now laughing to the bank. The invasion of Iraq seemed huge and is huge…but I believe it pales before the deregulation of power and media.

dead box

yay! I’ve finally gotten my computer back up and running near to my satisfaction. After a misdiagnosed dead cpu (replaced with an athlon 2200+) and a splurge of a new case, several hours of puzzlement swapping known-goods back and forth, I replaced the motherboard (was a Gigabyte) with an new one (ASUS A7N8X Deluxe). I think that I’ll be happy with this, especially once I get all the firewire, USB, multimedia, and RAID working (I run Linux so it’s not quite as plug-and-play). Hopefully post density will go up a bit now that I can access the internet from my happy place once again.

join arnold

oboy oboy. Join Arnold for a new era of bipartisanship. What a bunch of hooey. How did bipartisanship get redefined as Republicans doing what they want and getting their radio thugs to make whoopee if someone thinks twice about undoing already weak environmental protections. But the best part of the site is how it looks in my browser…the images split so Arnie and consort look like a coupla South Park Canadians.

Cat Power

Ugh. One of the worst shows that I’ve ever seen. Scratch that. Hands down the worst show I’ve ever seen, it was worse than Bob Dylan’s following of Santana that I walked out of. Worse than Mortal Combat the Movie (double feature with Days of Thunder) in which a couple behind me talked through the entire movie. Even worse than the Japanese noise band that I stumbled upon in the student union when I was in college, and that hurt. Her opening acts were mediocre, but far superior to anything the mopey Miss Power could muster. Both of them lone singer-songwriters, they were fine for awhile but dragged on, no hooks, nothing really catchy, just them on stage doing the same thing for an hour. They were talented, but didn’t strike me as inspired. When it was Cat’s turn to come on, she didn’t. The crowd at Berbatti’s waited patiently for an hour or so for her to come on. She did finally step onto the stage. Obviously she was loaded. She sat down and mumbled something into the microphone. It was about midnite when she started. Maybe pushing 1. She started playing. For three songs all she did was strum the same stupid chord and mutter some crap into the mic, when it was in the right place. Oh, it was awful. She’d stop and say something pedantic to the crowd every now and then, or something sorrowful, whatever. I couldn’t take it and got my crew to leave, which they appeared happy when I suggested it….they suggested the show, not me. On the way out, we left through the side door, I was last, and let the door close behind me. No slamming involved, but when it closed, it went hard, and loud. ka-slam. I honestly hadn’t expected that. My people looked at me like I’d done wrong, and I just shrugged and said that was my final F-you to a Cat Power show. They didn’t seem too bothered after that. Oh yeah, This is why I’m dragging out all of these bad memories…an uninteresting overview of Cat Power.

soldier rough life

Having been a rough and tumble soldier himself protecting the Great Nation of Texas in an elite military squad, GWB understands the squalor that soldiers have to live in…which probably explains his year of non-reporting for duty. But the degree of soldier-abuse by his flag-waving administration sounds utterly unacceptable. Despicable even. They are filling the coffers of their cronies so fast that nobody has time even to count. These people are so blatant about the atrocities they are committing against the American people (and the world) that it is nearly transparent. Nothing has been done to improve the American economy. I don’t even know that the word has been mentioned in the Bush Administration since he forced his tax cuts through. I don’t know if GWB means well or not…honestly he might, but he’s so sheltered and inept that he is susceptible to the charms and power offerings of the truly bad people, who put the words on his podium, in his earpiece, and out his mouth.

blog hosting

Hey, I’ve noticed that a lot of folks are moving off of blogger/blogspot/whatever. I recently got a bulk domain reseller account. It’s a great service, if any of y’all are interested in hosting reliably and cheap (like <=$35/year…I’m just looking for help with the costs) drop me a line. You’ll have full access to admin your site, but I can help out if needed.