Sunday, November 30, 2008

And the Lion Shall Lie Down with the Lamb

Oregonian photo.  Jeremiah Masoli: quarterback-slash-running-back-slash-slasher-and-burner.

Scene I:  Ducks and Beavers eating an after-thanksgiving lasagna dinner in peace and jolliness.

Scene II:  Ducks and Beavers sitting down together to watch the annual Civil War game, Oregon vs. Oregon State, in an atmosphere of detente and forgiveness (for the undercooked ribs), followed not long after by some Beaver weeping and gnashing of teeth, but no (visible) Duck dancing nor nanny-nannying.

And lo, the Beaver didst say, "Thou must waitest unto the next year, and at that time shall the Beaver of the Valley of the Corn rise up and defeatest the Waterfowl of the City of the Toasted Whole Grain Snack (with Honey and Almonds)."

And peace descendeth upon the land.  For now.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Is Your House On Fire? No? Thank God. Or Drew.

I never look forward to firehouse holidays.  At the fire station, there is a very slim chance that you and your hosts will complete a meal uninterrupted.  At least in Vancouver, where firefighters are becoming a smaller and smaller minority in relation to the growing population of the city. Here, our firefighters are so outnumbered that they are often out of their stations virtually all day and all night on fire and medical calls.  Still, there is that chance that they may stay undisturbed for a few hours while they have a Thanksgiving meal.

That was not to happen this day.  The Captain was there when we arrived (I seem to be writing in the royal we today), but before the turkey was pulled off the smoker, they were off to put out a house fire.  The Captain, in typical rosy-glassed style, was sure it was one of those cell-phone samaritans calling in a "smoking" dryer vent again.  But it turned out to be a house fire.

A note here about the turkey on the smoker:  they are IN LOVE with their Traeger wood pellet smoker/grill because they can set it to smoke or roast their meat outside the door for a couple hours, whereas the ovens are wired to turn off whenever the garage doors are lifted and the engines leave the station.  These days, that makes the ovens virtually unusable.

Meanwhile, the turkey is done.  Visiting firefighters take it off the grill, carve it and toss it back into the oven to keep warm.  Meanwhile, the green beans are beginning to become porridge.

Fast forward an hour:  the Captain calls to say the fire is about out, but (lucky) they get to stay, mop up, and show the fire inspectors around.  To kill time, I entertain a 18-month-old with my hilarious face and talent for holding a toy hippo just so.

Fast forward another hour:  Another call comes in for yet another fire for the Captain's crew. The other crew sharing the station decide to eat quickly before they get another call.  They get maybe ten minutes of face-stuffing before the next call comes in.  

Eventually, the visiting fire fighters leave for their own stations.  One other wife and I (and the baby who loooves me) decide to call it a night.  We throw aluminum foil over the food and take the stairs for the exit.

As we leave, I see the Heavy Rescue rig pull up.  I give The Captain the international palms-up signal for WTF, and he jumps out and gives me a sooty hug.  He has soot on his face and hands and boots and coat.  He has put out two house fires while you all have been having your Thanksgiving dinners.

Thank a fire fighter.  Thank a soldier.  And thank a cop.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

No Jury Would Convict Me

Is there a law against neighborcide if you can prove that he tortured you every day with his 120-decibel leaf blower, which he used by turning it on and off repeatedly in order to blow each individual leaf off his lawn and into a pile exactly two and one-half feet square?

There isn't if there is any justice in this world.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Follow the Rules

Kyrie O'Connor directed her blog readers to this fun list of Rules.  It made me think of a couple of expectant parents I know who might get a kick out of it.

Monday, November 24, 2008

She's Got Nae Powerrrr, Cap'n!

We're on emergency power, and dilithium crystals will not save us now.  

When I came home from an extended shopping excursion, the temperature in the house was 62 and falling, and no air was being pumped through the vents at all. (Cpt: I recommend that you stay away from the store during peak hours between now and Thanksgiving, because we don't have bail money for when you are arrested for shoving a frozen turkey into the large, suburban butt of the thirtieth clueless shopper who blocks the aisle with her cart while contemplating her salad dressing purchase.)

It turns out that our brand new heat pump has pooped out (which caused several fuses to blow in the heating system) and the suspiciously cheerful repair dude says we need a whole new compressor to fix it.  He says this almost never happens.  (yay?) Then he says that this being a short holiday week, we probably shouldn't expect a replacement to come in until next week.

So the auxiliary furnace is on "emergency power,"  which means we're no doubt using lots of extra emergency electricity.

No, really.  He was a repair dude, and he looked and acted like the Simpsons' Ned on Red Bull (Red Bull gives you angel wings).  A little difficult to compute while shivering from the cold.

Note to the captain:  told you.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sidewalk Poems - Fall Edition

I kept seeing these pieces of spontaneous artwork on the sidewalks of our neighborhood while Scotty and I were walking, but I never walk with my camera. 

 Yesterday, I went back and got my camera and a spare firefighter and took these pictures.  I'm sure the Captain felt a little off balance holding the dog for me while I focus my camera on the sidewalk, but he does things like that for me.

 The photos don't seem to do the effect justice, but they will have to do for the rest of the year until next year when the leaves come down and then the rain comes down soon after.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

$3 Movie Review: Dark Knight

The only things that pierced the veil of dark doom of this film were the many, many, many explosions.

The scariest moment was when a spider crawled onto my neck during hour - oh, say hour 17.

I'm exhausted from trying to get comfortable in the theater seat during the 20 - or was it 32 - hours of the Dark Knight while protecting my neck from the remainders of the spider family.

Drew liked it.  

So, reviewers: thumbs up.  Drew:  thumbs up.  Me:  whatever.  There were fewer groaningly corny lines in Incredible Hulk.  Give me Michael Keaton practicing how to say "I'm Batman" while planning to spring the news on Vicki Vale. More comics, less grisly deathics.

I'm going to go dream of ice cream and butterflies.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Dean Words to Watch

Words recently used by Dean:

  • zazzy
  • rad-tacular
  • trinketry
  • Pain-Scapade
  • It’s like heckling fish in a barrel
Just so you know.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

What Is That On Your Shoulder?

I just turned on the Oregon - Arizona game.

The are those things on the Ducks' shoulders?  You know, in place of the silver diamond-plate man-truck stainless steel pattern thingies?  

Feathers?  Trojanesque shoulder armor?

I Have Seen Despair and It Is Bridgeport Village

Every media face seems to be worried that we are not buying stuff, which means we are all worried we are in a recession, which means we are all totally in a recession.

We aren't people buying?

I could answer that question if I could lead you around the wonder that is Bridgeport Village (current motto:  Change of Season, Change of You.  For real).  I doubt that it would be necessary to travel to Tualatin, Oregon to experience Bridgeport Village. I'm sure there are similar hell-holes all across the country.  

The hallmarks of these fancy new consumer-towns are that, as opposed to the old-school malls, you can drive your BMW around these.  And if you are in Southern California, there is a good chance that the potted plants play Sinatra music.  And there are no discount stores.  Just Abercrombies, Banana Republics, Crate & Barrel, and the like.  The odd thing is that although you can drive around them you may not park anywhere other than the parking lot/garage, so I'm a little confused as to the purpose of the roads.

Actually, I'm confused about the purpose of the stores.  There are indeed clothes in there.  But they are (a) ugly, or (b) scratchy, or (c) scratchy and ugly.  And I don't think any of the store personnel wished me to purchase any of their products. Maybe they have other plans for them, because they weren't in a hurry to offer them to me.  You would think that they would be worried about their jobs, seeing that I was occasionally the only one in the store on a Saturday afternoon, but maybe they hadn't thought about the connection.  You know, the one between me buying something and the company having enough money to pay them some.

I have to confess that those places put me in such a sour mood that an item of clothing would have to be pretty spectacular for me to wish to leave any money behind in one of those stores.

I went to Bridgeport Village for some training on how to use this Macbook (as I am a recovering PC person and completely clueless).  As it was in the Pioneer Place mall in Portland where we bought it, everybody was in the Apple Store.  It apparently was the one store in the shopping center selling items that consumers wanted to buy.  In fact, the products are so popular, you actually have to make an appointment to purchase them.

Word to American product sellers:  make things that work OR are well-designed OR aren't ugly, and they will come.

Scottish Talk

If you are Scottish and want to keep me entertained for hours, just say, The girl squirrel with the curly locks mistook the pearl for a nut.  What a world."

Because with any luck it would sound like, "The guddle sqwuddle with the cuddly loccchhhs mistoook the puddle for a noot.  What a wuddled."

Ah.  Bliss. 

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Oh, Boy!

The sun comes out!  Yay!

On Saturday I will get to go out and rake the leaves that have fallen into the muddy grass and gravel over the past two weeks of steady rain, creating a hefty film of wet-toilet-paper goo that will make for a wonderful day out.

But I will be out.  So I've got that going for me.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

In Case You Were Wondering

Yes, it's still raining.

I Object

Here's a handy list of things I feel I must object to:

  • Naming a road "Crossroads Road."
  • Using "ask" as a noun, as in "that's a tall ask" (although I'm not sure I've heard this particular misdemeanor outside of Tour de France broadcasts). (Still.  Don't.)
  • Calling the Foo Fighters the Foos.  No matter how much of a first name basis you feel you are with the band.  I'm not even a fan of the Foo Fighters, so I'm not sure why I'm so adamant about this issue, but adamant I am.
  • Pharmaceutical commercials.  If my doctor, after 12 years of doctor training, is counting on me to discover the proper drug for my condition by watching NBC between 9 and 10 on Tuesdays, then the system is broken beyond repair and I need a new doctor.
  • High heels.
  • The Bush Administration's last minute "ecological yard sale," in which they are looting ecological regulations to allow mining companies to dump the waste from mountaintop-removal mining into rivers and streams; allow factory farms to pollute waterways with tons of poo without a permit and completely independent of the Clean Water Act; allow federal land-use managers to approve development, mining, and logging without consulting federal habitat managers and biological health experts responsible for species protection; and (hilariously) transfer the responsibility for examining the environmental impacts of federal ocean management decisions from federal employees to advisory groups that represent regional fishing interests. Undoing these regulations by the Obama Administration will be difficult and time-consuming.  I guess they must think they haven't done enough damage.  See OMB Watch for more outrage.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Coming To You from the FUTURE

Hey everybody, look at me typing on my new Mac Book! Do the words look more awesome now?

That's what I thought.


Prius: check.

Commuter bicycle (use as commuter vehicle optional): check

Recycle bins: check.

BPA-free Nalgene water bottle: check.

Fancy dog with biodegradable poop bags: check.

Square black eyeglasses: check.

Mac Book for coffee shops: check.

So can I join the club?

Update: so apparently there's some sort of secret handshake involving tattoos and bluetooth devices...

Further update:  so apparently they TOLD me that bluetooth devices were involved when they actually are not.  I get it.  Very funny.

Sunday, November 09, 2008


Last night was Date Night. I bought tickets to Live Wire! - Wordstock Extravaganza Edition. The Captain said Add To Cart without ever having heard of Live Wire! (exclamation point required).

He was familiar with the concept of Wordstock because I dragged him to the expo portion of it last year to hear Peter Sagal. For the Captain, the expo - rows and rows of tables stacked with books - was something to be endured rather than reveled in, so I was thinking a variety show, even with a guest list stacked with authors, would be a more palatable way to celebrate Wordstock this year.

We started the evening at Tastebud, a not-too-frou-frou restaurant close to the theater. A few lessons learned:

  • No matter how awesomely wood-fired the pizza is and no matter how locally and organically grown, squash is not a good pizza topping.
  • Sharing a table with strangers makes the Captain feel uncomfortable.
  • Sharing a table makes it hard not to listen in on your table-mates' first-date conversation.
  • When said first-date conversation degenerates into a who-is-more-literate word fight, it can be at once uncomfortable and fodder for jokes for the rest of the evening.

At the Aladdin Theater, the Captain learned that Live Wire! is like A Prairie Home Companion, only for the under-50 crowd. Less country and gospel music, more Storm Large and Portland indie rock; less gentle humor, more edgy humor.

The Live Wire! Guests:
  • The Long Winters, bringing their brand of transient cool down from Seattle;
  • Lynda Barry and Alison Bechdel, discussing being cartoonists and lesbians;
  • Jonathan Coulton singing a song about being a middle school nerd and said nerd's plans for future world domination;
  • Slam Poet Anis Mojgani, slamming our faces with some poetry;
  • Sandra Tsing Loh doing some over-the-top menopause-themed reading;
  • PNW favorite McKinley, workshopping a piece from her upcoming play (because that seems to be the thing to do now when you get tired of being a rock star);
  • Jay Allison, discussing his NPR series (and books) "This I Believe" (with accompanying comedy sketches by Faces for Radio Theater); and finally,
  • John Hodgman in a jaunty mood and accompanied by Jonathan Coulton.
The evening was capped by a hastily rehearsed but charming version of "Tonight You Belong To Me" (a song made famous (to me) by Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters in The Jerk), this time sung by John Roderick of The Long Winters, Jonathan Coulton and John Hodgman on tenor and ukulele.

I think the Captain (with the exception of the table-sharing and squash pizza) enjoyed the evening.

I know I did.

p.s. Dean says next time we should eat at Le Pigeon on Burnside. As long as we can have a table to ourselves, we'll take his advice.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Saturdays Pretty Much Kick Ass

It's the kind of raucous rain that makes you turn up the radio.

After the kind of hot bath that makes you want to put on a big cotton t-shirt when a turtleneck sweater would be wiser.

It's the kind of fall day that makes you want to eat potato chips.

I don't have any potato chips, but I have this turtleneck sweater. And when I cool down from my bath, it will feel more comfortable.

I'm going to go troll for chocolate in the kitchen...

Thursday, November 06, 2008


Walking funny today after lifting weights for the first time since we started painting the house. And going on various vacations. And tomato harvesting and preserving. Okay, it's been a couple months.

I thought that I could start where I left off a couple months ago. Turns out to be a bad idea. Other bad idea: listening to Drew about the benefits of ultra-deep knee bends.

If you need me, I'll be rummaging through the medicine cabinet.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

What a Moment

As Barack Obama spoke last night for the first time as President Elect, there were a group of twenty-somethings running through the streets of Colorado Springs.

They had been walking and talking with me on the phone, moseying down to the neighborhood pub where they could toast this new country we made today, until I let them know that Obama had begun his acceptance speech. They didn't want to miss it, because this is a moment they will remember all their lives. So they hung up and ran.

Yes, it is a different country today than it was yesterday. It has a new face - one that more closely reflects the people who make it up - and a new leader who inspires his constituents to help. Not just shop.

In the words of the immortal Flounder, this is gonna be great.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Show and Tell Update

And now for something completely nonpolitical: remember this sketch of the baby bear and fire fighter that I showed you earlier this summer?

Here is how that sketch came out, and what I am currently working on.

The bear and firefighter picture took on a mural-like quality, with simple lines and suggested shading, instead of either a more realistic effect (which I don't usually go for), or a more impressionistic effect (which is what usually happens, like it or not).

I could put it back on the easel and work on it some more, but I don't think a different look would improve it. So there you go. Bear and Fire Fighter, 2008.

After every piece that includes a person or animal depiction, it's nice to relax with some landscape. With a landscape I can put a rock or hill wherever I damn well please, and it doesn't make it look like the victim of a warty disease.

I've started on a simple picture of the road leading up to the summit of Steens Mountain. It had a picturesque "z" quality to it, but the surrounding countryside was dry and rocky. So I've added a little color for fun.

When I first saw the photo I took, it didn't really look like what I had expected. But now I'm warming up to it. It's odd that the camera shows a different painting than the one I just had my nose up against. And it's odd that paintings take on a life of their own. And it's odd that I don't have much control over that. It seems, being the author of the thing, that I should...

Yes We Can.

I'm not very good at words, but Andrew Sullivan is. Take his word(s) for it.

Vote Obama.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Gondoliers for Obama

Oh, it's in the bag.

Once you've got the Venetian gondoliers behind you, it's all over but the voting.