Saturday, June 30, 2007

It's Quiet Here in Once-Rural Clark County

...Except for the week preceding the Fourth of July, when they reenact the Revolutionary War nightly.

I would go to bed, but it would be of little use. I'll just go finish my book until they get tired of blowing things up. Usually around midnight.

Nighty-night. Yikes, that one was close.

The Campaign Against All That Is Ivy Continues

I am slowly winning the Ivy Death Struggle, and quickly becoming a source of neighborhood entertainment. At least I met another neighbor today. And may even get another ivy pulling job out of it.

Hear me now and believe me later: no one would do this for money. Only for their own bullshit household ownership craziness. They couldn't offer me the amount of money it would take for me to do this for someone else.

However, for entertainment value, I'm sure it's not unfunny to watch me pull vines, then pull harder, then give it everything I've got, then watch me stumble backwards as the vine finally gives way.

The pulling and backward-dancing is probably nothing compared to watching me go to town on the roots with a pickax that probably weighs more than I would normally bench press (if I had been anywhere near a weight bench in the last three years). For a while, I was lifting it straight up in the air, balancing it there for a moment, hoping it didn't fall too far back and compromise my tenuous grasp on my balance, and bringing it down somewhere in the vicinity of what I was aiming for. Then, if I got a lucky hit, prying the roots out.

Then I remembered seeing the big, burly guys making a nice arc with their pickaxes, using the head like a flywheel and using its joe-mentum to do the damage. So I practiced that method for a while. I might have been using my energy more wisely, but whatever aim I had going for me was gone. I'm sure it was deeply entertaining.

But check out my progress so far, losers:

And if you prefer prettier ivy death:

That's right, folks, June 30 and I'm almost to the telephone pole. Which means I'm not even half way done. But I could be a third of the way done. If you're generous with your measurements.

This is piglet, signing off and heading for the tub.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Wait, Wait, I Need a Nap

If you listen to NPR's current events funny-game show Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me on Saturday morning at 11, you will not hear me in the audience, but maybe you will feel my enormous presence through your radio (and I say enormous because I have pictorial proof that my mirror lied to me about how large I looked before going out last night).

I met seven people whom I had never met before, although I have talked with them many, many times through the magic of Adam Felber's blog, Fanatical Apathy. It was like we had all known each other for years. A weird feeling when you are looking at strange faces (well, a little strange).

The panel for the evening consisted of Roy Blount, Jr., down-home raconteur and author extraordinaire, Amy Dickinson of Ask Amy column fame (and funny as hell), and Adam Felber, author of the novel Schrodinger's Ball, TV writer, and comedy improviseur extraordinaire.

Thanks to Adam's A-list pull, we all got together after the taping to guzzle champagne in the richer-than-thou meet-and-greet after-party, then headed to the nearest bar to commence the after-after-party, hang with Adam and guzzle some more.

Adam is the nicest guy in show business. If you don't know about him yet, just wait longer, because you will.

We pulled up to the homestead around 1 a.m. and the alarm clock went off at 6 a.m. No big thing. Enough coffee and I stop wobbling. Luckily, I was not tasked with anything particularly thinking-intensive today because experience has taught me that I can generate a paper storm of legal disaster when I have a bad brain day at work.

Drew served as my chauffeur for the night. It would have been deadly dull for him (being that he is not In The Know re: Fanatical Apathy lore), but for Brian Davis of Becca and Brian fame, who kept him entertained with stories of their cool, cool 15-month trip around the world.

Now Drew is ready to hit the road. Actually, he is currently on the road, headed for the track, thinking (no, hoping) that it will be dry enough to ride tonight. Good luck with that.

Olympically Training Son Boastings for the night: 2

NOTE: The track stayed dry while it rained all around. But Drew got beat by a couple girls. Again. At least they were the fast girls.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Did I Mention?

I'm trying to find ways to work into the conversation that my son is at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs this week.
  • "That will be $16.95." Did I tell you that my son is at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs?
  • What did I do this weekend? Oh, nothing. Although on Monday, we took Dean to the airport so he could fly to Colorado Springs to work out for the National Team coach at the Olympic Training Center.
  • Waiter? My chicken isn't thoroughly cooked. It's as rare as your chances of going to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Where my son is.
  • Hi, I'm sorry my son couldn't come with me today. He's at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Working out with the National Team. What? I know he has never come to work with me before. I'm just saying. If he wanted to come with me, he couldn't. He's really, really training.
  • Oh, I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. Let me call my son and tell him about your loss. He's at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs this week, so I will have to text him, because I'm sure he's way too busy Olympically training to pick up the phone.

I'm open to further suggestions.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Show and Tell, Volume II

There is a beach at Yaquina Head that is made up of little black pebbles. Makes for a nice contrast.
I found this bear in a newspaper photo of a bear caught in a tree in suburban Medford, I think. It needed something, so I added the camera. Makes him look like he has a story to tell.
The idea for this crane came from a sculpture at the Maryhill Museum. Since the sculpture was grey, I added color from my own imagination, so I wouldn't try to spot one of these cranes in the wild. They grow only in my head.

Show and Tell , Volume I

This is what Dean looks like after he finishes his finals, starts a rigourous new training schedule, works all day, and then has a few beers.
This is Chauncey, trying to squeeze some more cute out of this unsuspecting child. No children were harmed in the making of this photo.
Bike racers can eat as much food as you have. No matter how much food you have. Norrene and David getting a well-deserved rest from feeding a house full of bike racers.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

If Ivy Doesn't Kill You It Will Make You Stronger. And Your Hands Uglier.

  • It's a good thing I was never big on hand beauty, because I'm developing some wicked ivy-pulling callouses.
  • Some day I'll get me one of them manicures.
  • I am officially the most whitest person in the world, as I managed to obtain a sunburn while bent over pulling ivy from 5:00 p.m. to 6 p.m. You know, in the evening.
  • I was so heavily damaged last night from watching two hours of European cycling that I had several recurring dreams about being forced to watch bizarre French You-Tube videos involving lots of quick shots of random objects and French cyclists hollering at the camera.
  • Tomorrow we're off to Eugene to help Mom & Dad move some stuff to their new digs in Longview, the place of my birth (I wonder if there is some kind of plaque).
  • If you ever find yourself in Longview and hungry, I can fix you up with a place that serves the best halibut fish & chips in the universe. Just don't expect ambiance. Or, you know, clean tables.
  • It's almost show and tell time. Watch this space for more paintings coming soon.

Monday, June 18, 2007

In Which We Clean Up and Succumb To Temptation

The party was excellent. A couple dozen superior beings, ranging in age from two to seventy-seven, came, feasted, toasted The Dean Project, drank beers, wine and juice (but not from sippy cups, because we are too grown up for that), and generally partied. Not a late night. Since it was Sunday, the celebrating was compact and dense. Like an earth-friendly flourescent light bulb.

Annie and I are both recovering from our own folly.

Annie managed to lap up a gob of barbequed chicken fat off the bottom of the grill (while more melted fat dripped onto her head). Being hosts, we were off hosting while she managed to Hoover up what later that night became clear was upwards of a quart of black, charred grease. By "later that night," I mean twelve-thirty, and again at three-thirty. And by "became clear," I mean because we got to see it again on the carpet.

Today I bought and broke in a new carpet cleaner, and Annie spent the day outside cleaning out the rest of her stomach, barf by barf (aside from the time she spent in the bath tub getting the chicken grease removed from her head).

I succumbed to my own delicious poison: chocolate cake. It's like taking a sleeping pill. A sleeping pill that tastes like chocolate cake. I need to eat it, then I get a window of about 30 seconds to get up and do something active. If I miss that window, I fall asleep. Then I wake up craving more cake.

I ate a piece of leftover cake after lunch today and made the mistake of settling down with the National Geographic for ten minutes, tops. Two hours later, I woke up craving more.

Yes, I ate another piece. But this time, I ate and dove outside and starting pulling ivy before the narcolepsy could take hold.

Happy Monday. Watch out for the cake. And steer clear of chicken grease.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Celebrate Good Times. You Know, Come On.

BBQ tomorrow at our house. We're celebrating:

  • Father's Day.

  • Dean's completing his Associate's Degree in Fire Fighting, or, if you like, the Skills of the Fire Gladiator.

  • Dean's team, the small but wiry Team Rubicon - the Fightin' Rubes - who have the collective heart of a collective lion.

  • Dean's general awesomeness in being selected to go to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado to perfect The Skills of the National Team Gladiator.

Come on up and play. I'm going to go clean the bathrooms now.

Those Darn 16 Words


Friday, June 15, 2007

If I Don't Answer the Phone, It's Because I'm Outside Playing Sisyphus

I'm going for it this summer. I'm taking this crap out, vine by vine, a little bit every day. It's hard to tell, but this is a corner lot, and the ivy continues around the corner.

I started on Wednesday by spending an hour pulling vines while listening to the Vines. I spent another hour on Thursday and maybe a half-hour tonight. So far, I've cleared maybe five feet.

I'll still be at it in September (probably down by that light pole) and by that time, the first part will probably be growing from the leftover roots.

I Want a Self-Entertaining Dog

I bought a pool for Scotty last summer because with his collie hair-do, he starts panting at 72 degrees and by 80, he is mostly melted. Unfortunately, he turned out to be a typical collie, which means he's typically freaked out by water.

Another reason why dachshunds rock. Nothing freaks them out except the doorbell.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

If You Lived In Portland You'd Be Here By Now.

Here we are in Forest Park, a great big forest on the top of the city of Portland. Right there. That's why Portland is the best.
Here's a good reason you should never leave home without checking to see that your bra is doing its job. Fair warning, girls.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Another Idea Swiped From Another Blog

So Mo Rocca asks what's your guilty iPod secret? I have pleeeeenty. Here are some.
  • I Can't Tell You Why by the Eagles (yes, Drew. There is shame in this.)
  • Blue (Da Ba Dee) by Eiffel 65
  • The Chain by Fleetwood Mac
  • What Is Love? by Haddaway
  • The Blue Train by Linda Ronstadt
  • Don't Call Me Baby by Madison Avenue
  • Come and Get Your Love by Redbone, and the most guilty of all:
  • Ring my Bell by DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince.

Beat that.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

I Need a Bumper Sticker

Your kid might have made the Dean's list, but my kid made the Track Cycling National Team coach's list. And his name is Dean.

So, sorry about your kid not being as awesome as mine and all.

Really Good Photography. All Year.

Have you found 365 Portraits yet? You will be busy, happily staring at this site for two hours, minimum. ("You" being Dean and Jenny, not so much Drew. There are no motorcycles.)


The people have done spoke.

It's Over. You Need No Longer Avert Your Eyes.

The Grey Ghost is gone. Long live the Gray Ghost.

We left it sitting in the Humane Society parking lot, knowing that they will lavish upon it the same love we have given it over the past 6 years. Namely, none. None love. Just hard, hard usage by an impatient, speed-obsessed young driver.

Now it is free to live out its last years on the Humane Society Farm for Retired Vehicles. Or sold at auction for parts.

We don't even seem to have any photographic evidence that it ever existed. Just the memory of the smell.

Godspeed, Grey Ford Ranger of Danger. You shall roll into parked cars no more.

There's Kleenex in the lobby.

This Is No Joke: You Are Our 10,000th Visitor!

Okay, it's a joke.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

I Couldn't Have Said It Better Myself.

I bring you this wonderful bit of Real Time with Bill Maher. If you don't subscribe to the podcast yet, do it now. Even if you don't have an mp3 player.

Except that they just went on hiatus until August.

And finally, New Rule: Jimmy Carter must be shipped off to Guantanamo Bay.
Last weekend, former U.S. president and current Al Qaeda operative--Jimmy
Carter, launched an unprovoked attack upon democracy itself by telling an
Arkansas newspaper that the Bush Administration has been the worst in
And people were shocked... Arkansas has newspapers?!

But, once again, we were sucked into a phony controversy about who said what
and how it hurts George Bush's feelings. Because when you hurt George Bush, you
hurt America's feelings; and when you hurt America's feelings, you hurt the
troops. And when that happens, Tinker Bell's light goes out and she dies.

Now, as for Carter's assertion, I was up all night on Wikipedia doing an
exhaustive study of former presidents. And while other presidents have sucked in
their own individual ways, Bush is like a smorgasbord of "suck." He -- he
combines the corruption of Warren G. Harding, the war-mongering of James Polk,
and the abuse of power of Richard Nixon.

Nixon got in trouble for illegally wiretapping Democratic headquarters.
Bush is illegally wiretapping the entire country!

Nixon opened up relations with the Chinese. Bush let them poison your dog.

Herbert Hoover, who was literally named after a machine that sucks--sat on
his ass through four years of Depression, but he was an actual engineer. And if
someone told him about global warming, he would have understood it before the
penguins caught on fire.

Ulysses S. Grant let his cronies loot the republic, but he won his Civil War.

Harding...Harding sucked, but he once said, "I am not fit for this office and
never should have been here." So at least he knew he sucked. He never walked
offstage like Bush does after one of his embarrassing, language-mangling
press conferences--with that smirk on his face like, "Nailed it!" Or maybe
that's just the look you get when you have a showdown with the Democrats,
and you win. Like he just did with Iraq. You don't get to become the worst
president ever without a little help from the other side.

You know, I like Jimmy Carter, but when the -- when the Republican "fake
outrage" machine pretended to be so upset at his remarks, Carter did what
Democrats do, and backed down. He said his words were careless and misquoted,
and the sun was in his eyes, and his hearing aid went out, and he was molested
by a clergyman. Instead of looking them in the eye and saying, "No, I meant what
I said because it's true! And speaking as the first citizen of Habitat for
Humanity, let me take out my Jimmy Carter toolbox and build you a house where we can meet, and you can blow me."

I loved the part where the penguins caught on fire.