Archive for May, 2007

Blue Moon!


Originally uploaded by dieselboi.

No, not the McMenamins on 21st. Tonight is a Blue Moon. A Blue Moon is defined as a second full moon in a single month. Wow, the moon fairies cut it close. Sorry for the blurry photo. Still don’t know how to take night shots with my camera. So, I wonder what kind of crazy shit is going down tonight. Not just a full moon, a Blue Moon!

Today’s rant

Gonna be an asshole for a few minutes, so bear with me. I have a question for you all. We’re all in this together right? This life? This city? Work? etc. Why must individuals feel they are the only people who matter sometimes. Why must people go through their day without thinking about their fellow man/woman or the person sitting next to them. It is kinda of like that commercial that keeps showing people helping each other.
Well, today I had one of those moments where I saw two people being just asses. This couple were rolling their child across the Hawthorne bridge in one of those larger sporty strollers. The problem I had with them was that they were strolling down the middle of the combined pedestrian/bicycle path with absolutely no regard for others moving over the bridge. We were all walking east. When you walk east, the signs on the bridge state that pedestrians should be on the left, bikes on the right. When these asshats were walking down the middle, the bikes were forced to either stop or risk falling into traffic. I saw a few bikers get of their bikes just to accommodate these clowns.
I am not saying a biker has more rights on the bridge than peds. I’m not saying peds have more rights than bikes. What I am saying is that we all should share the space and by walking down the middle when you could be to the left – that is not sharing. That is crap. When I passed the couple, I passed on the left and suggested they move to their left because the bikes come fast. I was trying to sound suggestive and cautionary and yet they sneered and stayed in the middle. Grrr!

Portlanders Guide to Portland?

Later in the summer I’m expecting some family, one of whom (if you can believe it) has never been to our city before and the other has only been in town for short trips and has seen nothing of the city save 1 riverboat and 2 jazz clubs. Of course it makes me want to show Portland off in the best possible light, so I started to compile a mental list of the Portland must sees…

But I came to the conclusion that the BIG must see things are not what make Portland the city I love, the first place I ever willingly called home.

When my family arrives I’m sure I will take them on a couple of trails, to a few amazing restaurants and for a walk by the riverfront but what else is there to your Portland? If you had 3 days to show off what Portland means to you what would be your must see, must eat, and must do?

Starlight Parade? Grand Floral Parade? I Don’t Give a Rip

The Rose Festival’s Starlight Parade is this Saturday beginning at 8:30 p.m.

I, for one, don’t give a rip.

First of all, I hate all parades. Just the very act of compliant, follow-the-leader marching is repugnant to this rugged, “listen to my own beat” individualist.

I don’t like parade floats either. They are silly and goofy. Not art. Not even craft. Just the creations of organizationally minded folks with too much time on their hands.

I don’t like parade music. Slavishly sticking to charts. I want my music more improvisational and creative.

I don’t like parade-participating organizations. Do you really need huge signs and dopey floats to draw attention to yourselves?

I don’t like parade crowds. What’s the point of pitching your chair the day or night before? Downtown is dug up enough than for me to countenance more blockages. Let me drive the hell through.

Parades. Insipid. Every damn single one of them- including the Starlight Parade.

And the Grand Floral, which is a week from Saturday at 10 a.m.?

I do happen to care about roses, but when I want to study them I go to Washington Park’s International Rose Test Garden and take photos of roses in micromode.

BBQ Etiquette

BBQ season is officially upon us – believe me – we went to four over the 3-day weekend! And while I feel like my friends and I have our system down pretty well after many years of backyard fests – I know there a lot of different opinions on BBQ – and party etiquette in general.

– Is the host obligated to provide enough food and drink for all or does everyone pitch in?
– Is it ‘tacky’ to tell people over the age of 30 that the party is BYOB?
– Is it tacky for the host to not have enough food and/or drink to ‘cover’ those that forget/don’t bring there own (food, drink or whatever)
– Is it tacky to specify that kids aren’t allowed / should it be assumed that they are allowed if the invite doesn’t say otherwise?

Like I said – we never have issues with this stuff when we have people over, or when we go to our friends – we’re a pretty laid back bunch – but I’ve heard a lot of grumblings from co-workers, former co-workers and other acquaintances regarding ‘bad BBQ situations’ involving issue such as these.

So tell me Portland – do you really care if you have to bring your own 6-pack and a salad to a BBQ? I know that as much as I love my friends – I for one am not buying enough booze for all of them unless it’s a major special occasion!

NOTE: Apparently ‘BYOB’ flags our spam filters if you comment – so warned!

Portland A “New Urbanism” Hub? Not Quite, Say Some Experts

You may have heard the term “New Urbanism.” Very roughly defined, it is the concept that development- even in the suburbs- can be clustered around mixed use applications such as homes, small shops, and restaurants- with lots of transit options either on site or a short walk away.

We Portlanders have long fancied ourselves New Urbanism pioneers. There’s Orenco Station off Cornell Road in Hillsboro; Bridgeport Village in Tigard, and the soon-to-be-IKEA-bearing Cascade Station near the airport.

Yet a real estate conference held yesterday at Portland State University seemed to sound the theme that when it comes to New Urbanism, we PDX’ers have a long way to go.

When Are We Going To Get Out Of Here?

The soldiers want to know when they can get out of Iraq. That’s what they kept asking Sen. Joe Lieberman on his unannounced visit yesterday to the war torn country. Several soldiers said no progress is being made. They need more body armor. Their Humvees need armor, too.

What a prospect then to be one of the 110 National Guard soldiers about to leave Oregon for the war.

What does it mean to go to a place where what you do has no purpose? Where you are being watched, observed to see when it makes sense to set off that explosive you just walked by?

I support these guys. But what a world they will soon face.

Hating on Portland’s Bicyclists

I love to hate Portland bicyclists.

I mean, it seems like every time I’m out driving in SE Portland, some bicyclist is engagine in some suicidal ass-holery, just daring me to run into him or her. If I wasn’t driving a modern econo-car, which would probably sustain $1500 damage while just denting their tire, I might take them up on the offer.

I see people riding the wrong way on Hawthorne, people riding through red lights downtown, all sorts of foolishness.

I mean, really, it makes it sooooo easy to think that bicyclists suck.

It’s with this mentality that I entered the world of the commuter bicyclist a week and a half ago. Astounded by gas prices and by my likewise-inflating six-pack keg where my stomach used to be, I talked my wife into letting me get a bike so that I could ride in to work on days where my schedule accomodates it. The first ride was last week, and I realized that, though you may never forget how to ride a bike from the standpoint of basic pedalling and staying upright, there’s more to it than that.

I was riding into town yesterday when a thought crossed my mind. I’d been watching a lot of bicyclists in the last few days. Probably at least 50 in the four days out of the last seven that I’ve been commuting by bike. And, among them all, I may be the worst transgressor of the various rules of the road for bicyclists.

Amazing. I realized that, if I was driving a car near myself on a bike, I’d watch myself, hate myself, and use myself as a justification for my ongoing wrath against all cyclists.

Which opened my eyes. Because I try to be conscientious in the things I do. I just don’t always succeed.

There’s this thing in psychology called the primacy effect. Basically it says that we develop a first impression of something, and we look for things to reinforce that first impression. When I was a kid, I loved bicycling. Did it alot. Then I stopped biking for a long time, fell in love with my car, and drove around oblivious to the bikers around me until someone did something that pissed me off. And then I decided bikers sucked, and then I found lots of individuals to support my derision towards all bicyclists as a class.

Upon review, that was stupid and wrong. When you think about it, for every one bicyclist that miffs you by doing something intentionally wicked or just stupid (I’d be in the second class, I swear!), there are scores that ride very well, within the rules, and in as unobtrusive a way as possible. To judge a whole barrel of apples by the one bad one that is entirely failing to spoil them isn’t fair.

So, I still despise bicyclists. However, I confine that loathing to the particular individuals who particularly offend, as opposed to the whole group as a class. And I remain hopeful that the next time I come upon a particular detested biker, they will have cleaned up their act.

And, by the way, if you see me out there messing up, feel free to hate me, but just don’t run over me. I may get this whole bicycling thing figured out yet!

No Need To Ask, He’s A Crane Operator

Originally uploaded by russ.

Every business day, just off my back deck, The Westerly rises in the northwest corner of the Uptown Shopping Center.
When this thing reaches 14-story altitudinal maturity, some of my holy cow view of Portland’s skyline and the Cascades biggest peaks will be obscured.

Got Gas?

With the holiday weekend now over (and as someone who drove out of and back into town over the weekend), I’m shocked — shocked, I say — that I’m suddenly seeing gas prices around town fall now that most everybody’s travel is done. The Astro Boy near me has dropped by over a dime a gallon since Friday. And I know we’ve been talking about and questioning the gas prices on the bloggy blog here for a while.

*an interesting note is that if you search for “gas” in the Metblog archives, it also pulls up a dieselboi post from April of last year about the very same topic. Again, color me so very, very shocked (what, gas prices are somewhat cyclical? get out of town!)*

But today, I found a pretty interesting graph via Autoblog that shows that gas really isn’t that expensive in the historical sense, though I’m guessing the trend line now is still more on the upswing than the down as demand rises and supply decreases.

And hey, if you really want to see high prices, you could always go to Europe, where they’re paying more than double our current price.

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