Archive for January, 2006

Break My iPod, Senator Smith

I refuse to vote for any senator who breaks my iPod. I love watching video on it, and I love watching video on my laptop, and I love watching video on my PSP. If Sen. Gordon Smith wants to continue with his current idiocy with DRM (a.k.a. Digital Rights Management [trans., software to break your TiVo, iPod and Windows Media Center]), I will vote (hey! I can do that now!) against him, and probably campaign against him as well. I’ll make a huge sign that says “SENATOR GORDON BROKE YOUR IPOD” and carry it around Pioneer this summer.

via BlueOregon.

Kids on the Grift

A couple of days ago two kids knocked on my door and said they were collecting money for the Boy and Girls Club so their basketball team could go to Las Vegas. They looked legit. They both had on ID tags (Though I didn’t take a close look at their ID.) and a nicely printed sign up sheet with a plastic cover. I had nothing to give and told them so. They acted professional and very polite. They thanked me and left.

As soon as I closed the door a friend who was over said, “Oh my God! Were they asking for money for a Boys and Girls Club trip to Las Vegas?” Then she went on to tell me that a couple of kids were on Mississippi Avenue last week with the same line. When someone actually called the Boys and Girls Club they said they had never heard of those kids and there was no such trip planned. EEK!

Look out for these kids. They were in the Arbor Lodge neighborhood on Sunday. Maybe ask to get a closer look at their ID or ask them to wait why you call the Boys and Girls Club to verify they are who they say they are.

Suggestions anyone?

Precipitation Poetry Corner (second in a series)

First, a month of rain
Now wind gusts, and still MORE rain!
Geez, what’s next, locusts!?

Storm watch 2006

Will this immeaurably long month just end already? I want to start my New Year’s Resolutions. Is it possible my brain has completely stopped producing serotonin? It sure feels like it. I’ve decided I’m going to wear my black rain boots every day until June.

Now Hiring!

Now Hiring!

Originally uploaded by dieselboii.

Grand Central Baking is opening a new retail space down on N Fremont off Mississippi soon. The construction fences are down, so they must me close to finished. If you’re looking for a new career, check them out!

more info: apply in person – 714 n. fremont- feb 1 from 12pm – 3pm

data through the air……like the days of our lives….

Portland, you don’t disappoint!

mult falls

Originally uploaded by dieselboi.

over the weekend, we had visitors from Vermont. yes, it was raining and rained most of the weekend, but coming from cold snowy Vermont, our guests were happy to be warm. in preparation for the visit, i thought hard about what i wanted to show our friends in such a short period of time. i’m proud of portland and am one of the few who have been here always- going on 36 years now – born @ Bess Kaiser (now Adidas World HQ) no less.
so, using my childhood as a guide, i, along with my loveley wife, put together the following for our guests:

Thursday night: drinks @ Club21 – perfect exhibit of Portland dive; dinner at Le Bistro Montage – no comment needed; late night drinks @ The Spare Room – another example of true Portland. Also, the guests stayed @ McMenamin’s Kennedy School for the night. Wooohoooo.

Friday: Perfect burger and lunchins @ Higgin’s; wander around downtown and to the top of the Dekum Building; visit OddBall shoes in the Pearl- a wonderful store; then home for some homecooked tuna with braized greens and movies.

Saturday: early breakfast at Gravy on N. Mississippi – perfect grub!; walk in the rain; out to Hawthorne for some shopping and business; Multnomah Falls baby – yes, the rain was sideways, but the falls were beautiful; lunch @ McMenamin’s Edgefield and then back into town to visit Guy Burwell, an amazing Portland artist/graphic designer; up to the Rose Garden at twilight; oysters @ Dan and Louis’ in old town.

Wow Portland, I am so proud of you. You made our city shine for our guests. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Update – Driftwood Room at Mallory-last night tonight!

Tonight Portland! The Mallory is being closed and remodeled and tonight is the last night for the venerable Driftwood Room and its unique kidney shape. Opens @ 2pm for you early birds. Come send it off – Portland style!

Driftwood Room at the Hotel Mallory
729 SW 15th ave
2pm-they close the doors and kick you out one last time…

data through the air……like the days of our lives…

UPDATE – @ 5:30, when I ordered a gin martini, the bartender was making a well vodka tonic for a patron and ran of out well vodka (Smirnoff.) to substitute, he switched to Ketel 1. the purpose of the night is to clear the bar of liquor people. get on down there, say goodbye and have a topshelf cocktail and tip the bartender.

Why I’ll be voting yes on iTax, rev 2

I’ve been struggling in the face of what seems like overwhelming negativity to articulate just why I believe that supporting a tax in May – yes, another tax – is necessary. I won’t go as far as to say that anyone not supporting this effort ‘ought to be ashamed’ – I, like many of you, am weary about the many outstretched hands looking for a piece of my money ‘just for a short while.’ And I – like many of you – are less than thrilled with some of the spending choices our city has made in recent years (aerial tram, anyone?)

Finally, I – like most of you – am on a budget myself – and yet another tax will definitely hurt me. But I’m also a single working parent of two children who doesn’t have another viable option should my school district go belly-up. Portland’s business community will have a harder time attracting new businesses (and their employers) to the city with the spectre of another Doonesbury cartoon on the horizon. And – at the risk of beating the doom and gloom drums so many of you are tired beyond belief of hearing by now – failing to provide for a strong public school system will irretrievably alter Portland’s community fabric as families in search of a better option decamp for a ‘better’ place.

Jack Bog said much the same thing over at his blog with a post entitled Yes on the Portland income tax – and I finally found my voice as the 36th commenter amidst a crowd of naysayers – so I ported part of my response below to use in this post.

I’ll do a more detailed post about dollars and cents later (confession – I haven’t yet looked at the latest figures, nor have I read yesterday’s Oregonian), but I do know this.

PPS has been working from flat or declining budgets the last three years – and the 50 million iTax gap is only one of the funding sources to dry up in recent years (the local option property tax, the 10-year capital bond levy, which provided building improvements, and federal cuts to the Title 1 program are just some of the funds PPS has lost in recent years.

Fifty five percent of this year’s budget goes for teachers and textbooks, another 17.6% is targeted for school staff and support, and 15% for buses, buildings and infrastructure needs (88.4% for those three categories combined.) Central administration costs are 3.8%, debt payments are 3.4%, and contingency funds account for the remaining 4.5%

The monies coming in to refurbish Jefferson? The efforts to retool school structures (breaking large high schools into a collection of smaller schools, for example)? A lot of that’s funded by grant money – the district got aggressive about retooling their offerings to better appeal to parent/student expectations (not to mention federal achievement mandates); foundations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation acknowledged and rewarded their efforts with $$$.

Add in the domino effect that the district faces as it strives to stay one step ahead of other potential federal funding cuts as a result of the misguided No Child Left Behind act (sure, there’s plenty of room for enforcement, but not many dollars to support bringing achievement up in the first place), and the district is doing an amazing job trying to keep upright amidst the ever-shifting sands they’re on top of – in my opinion, anyway.

And then there’s the fact that parents are putting in plenty of sweat equity of their own – from fundraising to pay for ‘luxury’ positions like librarians and teachers aides to volunteering in the classroom to washing down cafeteria tables, weeding playgrounds and bringing in reams of copy paper, boxes of kleenex, and pencils to supplement the money that many teachers kick in out of their own pockets. That’s fine – we ought to have some skin in the game.

(Don’t even get me started about the massive inequities that can create, where the ‘have’ schools benefit from an involved parent community while the ‘have-not’ schools stumble along in their wake.)

I’ve heard ad nauseum that we’re merely putting on yet another band aid here – and to that, I say – so what? When the patient’s laying on the operating table groggy from loss of blood, yeah – you put on a big honking band-aid. And you don’t have the luxury to debate about this potential solution or that potential solution or go marching off in search of the guy who stuck the knife in (otherwise known as our vaunted legislature in Salem) to ‘make it right.’

First, you stop the bleeding. Even if it seems like yet another freakin’ injury and you’re tired of cleaning up the mess.

A Middle School Student’s Perspective

I talked with a Portland middle school student today Great kid. Smart. He talked about packs of wolves, alpha males and how they compare to kids his own age. He is studying C++, the programming language. The conversation turned to electives. I said that I took shop in middle school but looking back, I’d like to have taken art.

“They cut art,” he said. “They took away all the fun stuff. Art was really popular, too.”

I said it has to do with money more than anything else. He then said something that saddened me. He wishes that he was a sixth grader last year. They had art last year, orchsestra, too.

It hit me hard. He wishes he was in sixth grade last year. And it’s not because he wants to be older. He just doesn’t have the breadth of education that kids in years past have enjoyed. And he knows it. And that’s why he wishes was older. He is not talking about dreams of being an adult. He’s dreaming of art and music.

It makes you wonder. Will this sixth grade class be the group that always looks back? Will they protest? Will they get fed up?

I wonder.


Did I just feel an earthquake? Did you? The whole house shook for a second or two. Did you feel a shake in the earth?

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