Sunday, November 01, 2009

Moving on 

I won't delete this blog, and I won't forget about it. However, I have decided to move on and make a fresh blogging start. Hence, Jimspeak 2.0 which you can find here:


(0) comments

Monday, April 06, 2009

Will wonders never cease? 

Coming soon, to this blog.

Tales from South America!

Sun, heat, food and beer, locals and other travelers, bus rides and much more!

(1) comments

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Thickening skin 

Here it is day 4 of the conference and I've not posted since day 2 when I was working! It's been a great few days, though exhausting. I've met a lot of wonderful people, seem a lot of great presentations, and don't feel totally hopeless about the state of the world (not completely...). The best part about some of what I've heard is that I think I've gained some tools and practical applications for the work I am my company do. Which is a great change from the typical overarching high-thinking yet mostly theoretical thinking.

My profession (transportation/traffic engineering) has been getting hit with some pretty serious criticism and condemnation. Which has raised my hackles at times, but overall has been pretty warranted, not allowing me to really complain or rebut.

The days have been chock full of goodness. Tonight I leave the conference to heard to Denver for a buddy's wedding, giving me a change to take a breath and relax!

This morning started with me hauling my trailer, much like every other day this week. My load this morning was another bike, causing me to giggle quite a bit. A bike hauling a bike. Good times!

(0) comments

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Towards Carfree Cities VIII Day 2 

My friend from Brazil arrived last Saturday morning, and thus began the end of the odyssey that has been preparing and helping to organize the Towards Carfree Cities (TCC)Conference VIII (http://carfreeportland.org/).

My involvement began last year when I attended TCC VII in Istanbul. There was no way I could not be involved since it's being held here in Portland, OR.

So far so good. Yesterday the conference began with a depaving day. We swarmed over a parking lot in North Portland and tore it up so that it can be reborn as a community garden and community center. It was a gorgeous day! Sunny and warm, perfect for destroying a bunch of asphalt. At 1045am a large crowd attacked the parking lot with sledgehammers and pick axes in a controlled frenzy and by 3pm the last of the gravel was being raked up and sorted. Despite the sweat soaked shirts and I am sure sore muscles, smiles covered all faces. My job for the day was to run the secure bike parking which gave me ample time to watch the proceedings and it was so great to watch. My favorite was an architect from San Francisco. He was grinning like crazy while hauling wheelbarrows full of torn up pavement onto the rolloff, having the time of his life. All around though, people were smiling, talking, becoming friends and enjoying not just the great weather (finally!), but the ability to use their hands to free a patch of land from asphalt cover and car use and return it to true public use.

Afterwards I made a somewhat token effort in my office to get some work done and lasted an hour before going home.

My nap did not take, mostly because the cat kept trying to lick me and wouldn't leave me alone. So I sucked it up, ate some dinner, and walked over to Powell's to listen to a reading by Chris Carlsson which was quite good.

Seems Chris knows (through a friend) my Brazilian house guest they and a couple others went off to dinner. I opted to stumble home, eat dinner staring at the wall, and then crash into bed.

This morning began waaay too early. Out the door at 6am, a bunch of us gathered to haul (by bike/bike-trailer of course) a bunch of necessities down to Portland State University (PSU) for the bigger kick-off.

And so it's begun, again. Today is Public Day, with presentations open to everyone, vendor tables, some keynote speakers and later music and street performers. And tonight, an Art Show at City Hall!

Of course the day doesn't end there. We'll see what happens after that.

More later.

(0) comments

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Update on carlessness 

Here we are a couple of months into my being carfree, and how do things stand?

Top notch I tell you. How many times have I had to resort to car trickery in order to accomplish that which needed accomplishing? Rarely. Incident #1 required the use of my friend Sue's Flexcar (http://www.flexcar.com/) membership in order to pick up the food and mini-keg of Roots beer that we were using to entice people into coming to listen to Steph and I prattle on about our "towards carfree cities" adventures. And it worked! An estimated 35 people showed up and no one booed or threw anything or left early (some late arrivals, but that's ok). A good time, but boy do I need to work on my public oratory skills! All in good time.

Incident #2 happened the other week off in Hawaii. It's true. Off in paradise and I rented a car for not only a day, but the entire week I was there! Crazy, but I did turn down the company's offer to upgrade me to a Mustang convertible for an extra $5 a day. My appearance as a tourist was obvious enough. Didn't need to make it more blatant.

And what a trip that was. Going back to a place where during Round 1 I arrived and left as an admittedly pampered migrant worker, now I went as a tourist. I didn't like that as much. Following on the heels of Turkey, the travelers around me on the plane also threw me for a loop and left me feeling even more like an invasive tourist. Quite odd.

A grand trip, however. It was wonderful to be back with Candace again, even if only for a short week. We spend the week bumming around the island sitting on beaches, eating, relaxing, and reconnecting. Towards the end of the week we headed back to Hilo to spend a couple of nights in her house. And man, what a place! Up on a hill on a quiet dead end street, huge front porch with a parcellated view of the ocean, large airy well-lit house, back yard with a few fruit trees....not bad at all. Not that I was jealous or wishing that I had been living there with her all along....no thought of how nice it would be to live on the island again passed through my mind....oh man. That part was a little rough (especially when the plane landed in Portland and I walked out of the airport into the cold rain), I'll admit. But don't feel bad for me. Feel bad for Candace who moves back here (yes! Finally!) next week and has to deal with the Northwest crappy weather after 5 months in Hawaii. I predict some cranky depressed air in the apartment.

Best moment of the trip? Hard to pick. Seeing CEF for the first time; dinner at the Kona brewery the first night gazing smiling laughing remembering toying overeating, stresses of the previous months falling away flaking off disappearing burned off by the Hawaii sun that had yet to sear my skin; laying on a beach in Hilo with clouds scudding across Mauna Loa in the background, the sun beating down, the waves lapping the shoreline and the Candace by my side; cruising down the highway with the windows down the radio turned up after a couple hours of beach time a layer of good coating inside and out smiles abounding; quiet dinner of Thai food with warm Hawaiian rain puttering down outside, no where to be or go or do just sitting and being together. Yah. A good trip.

"History Boys". Good movie.

What else to relate from that trip? Not a single flinch and any rough air or almost botched landing. Yup, that's right. An almost botched landing. Maui was the layover of choice in both directions. On the way out, I got to see some amazing crazy clouds, swirling and capering around over the ocean and volcanoes, the lowering sun casting gorgeous colors on the clouds and also across the rowdy ocean. Beautiful. But. A quick uturn was needed to head back towards the Kailua-Kona airport and the plane seemed to be banked harder than I think I've experienced. Upon touchdown (late on the runway), no slowing was applied for....a while. And then all of a sudden flap wonder and a slamming of brakes and a jolting slowing of the plane, overshooting by a little (but not too much) the turn onto the taxiway. We made it, but barely. Heh. Maybe the pilot was napping?

Oh yeah. Thanksgiving. On the beach? Not bad. Not bad at all. Place of Refuge south of Kailua-Kona and down near the farm (Dragon's Lair) I worked on a couple years ago is where we gathered. A sandy area with picnic tables and coconut tree cover, and then a large expanse of lava and tide pools into the ocean. Amazing place. It was the Candace and I, Ken and Christine (owners of Dragon's Lair previous to my time there, and Candace's surrogate parents), 2 of K & C's friends and a slew of WOOFERs. Maybe 15 people in all? A very mellow and friendly crowd. Really nice and relaxing, great food, cold beer, beautiful sunset seen from far out on the lave with a Candace hand in mine, shoulder to shoulder watching the sun dip into the clouds above the water, enjoying life.

It felt good to sweat and be hot. The last morning we got ridiculously overpriced coffee and sat in lazy chairs in the sand watching the waves come in and stir up the sand on the beach as ratty human-fed-pampered (badbadbad) doves and sparrows flitted about, one of them almost catching the Can in the face. Burritos followed then yet another in a long line of seemingly never ending goodbyes with this one and off I went to the airport.

Watched the remake of "Hairspray" on the plane. Surprisingly (to me) good! Took some of the dour off.

Irony: the only sunburn I got was on the last day, on my left arm. That's right, a driver's burn!

Only one more week!

I should plod off to bed. Gotta me Steph at the LRC in....6 hours? Yoinks.

Need to get Seymour fixed as well. Blew the cable for the rear gears on my last day here before heading to Hawaii. Poor guy.

(0) comments

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Why I love the Portland airport 

Today is the day before Thanksgiving and I am flying out to Hawaii. Not a rough life I lead these days, eh?

But here's the best part of the morning so far (after the consideration of my destination): there was no line at check-in. Stranger yet, not a single person was in front of me at security. Amazing. Into the airport and to the gate within maybe 20 minutes.

And, free internet!

Happy Thanksgiving all.

And happy day-after Thanksgiving: http://adbusters.org/metas/eco/bnd/

(0) comments

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Back to Istanbul 

A plane got us there. Quite boring in comparison to all the bus trips we'd recently survived. But I must say, it was not an unwelcome change! A short zany bus ride through Istanbul rush hour traffic dropped us at the ferry dock. A ferry ride and tram ride later and we were back at the hostel by the Aya Sofya, checking in and longing for a cold beer beverage. As we filled out the requisite forms, three of the girls we met in Goreme walked in and they whisked us off to dinner and we compared stories.

What different trips we had! When we parted ways, they headed west towards the ocean and beaches. Apparently, they also landed right in the middle of a paradise for honeymooning package tourists from England (their home as well). The ruckus was such a spectacle that they actually tried to cover up their accents in an attempt to not be associated with the riffraff. Suffice it to say, our stories shocked them a bit. And made them slightly jealous. Only very slightly. Their stories made me very happy that we took the route we did. I might have drowned myself had I been with them (an easy task seeing as how my flotational skills are non-existent).

The days that followed were quite relaxing. Finally we got to some more of the sights of the city. We met up with Rick and Ethem for lunch and dinner, had a great time getting to know Nat more, and reveled in the foreignness of the city.

On the preappointed day we awoke in Rick's apartment and snagged a taxi to the airport and another easy flight. To Germany. Which is close to Belgium...

But that is another tale

(0) comments

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Name: Corey
Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

I'm on a journey with no destination. The path is constantly changing direction but there are always adventures to be had. "Never" and "always" have left my lexicon.

WWW http:/www.jimspeak.blogspot.com