Wednesday, May 31, 2006

What a 'grand' gesture 

I won't get into the Iran thing too much right now because my lunch break is drawing to a close and I am also trying to get Dell to stop preventing my purchase of a new laptop (the old one is on its last legs).


Iran's president sent a letter to Dubya (I have what I'm told is a copy, but haven't read it yet and so can't comment). A pretty big gesture I'd say (even if he is a 'bad' man, our history and interference in their country isn't exactly rosy). One that was rebuffed and scorned. I don't consider that a diplomatic act.

The United States said Wednesday it will join in face-to-face talks with Iran over its nuclear program if Tehran first agrees to put disputed atomic activities on hold, a shift in tactics meant to offer the Iranians a last chance to avoid punishing sanctions.

At the White House, President Bush said, "I believe that it's important that we solve this issue diplomatically, and my decision today says that the United States is going to take a leadership position in solving this issue."

The above quotes came from this article.

How nice. Can diplomacy really work when it's only attempted on one level? The Iran/US issue is not new to this dispute over possible nuclear weapons. It's older than that. How can this difference of opinion be cleared up by focusing on ONE issue, when the parties don't know each other anymore (since dimplomatic ties were cut in 1979)? To me it makes sense to begin at the ground level. Accept the letter from Amadinejad as a gesture. Return a peaceful gesture in return. Say "Hello". Go from there. But make a real effort at dimplomacy. Relationships are built up over time (except for one night stands. And their legitimacy as a relationship is sketchy at best. Unless you are a diamond company, then you can use it as another venue to carouse down in your efforts to....digression. Back to the task at hand) and I see no reason why this is any different in the relationships between countries. I suppose it's easier to point to Iran's avoidance of our bullying (yes, it is) and demand that this ONE issue is addressed (ignoring history once again! Pretending that nuclear head-butting is all that's involved).

In my opinion, telling someone what they must do without giving them a voice to debate WITH you, is not diplomacy. Making demands is not making the utmost efforts at diplomacy. Give and take; exchanges of ideas; trying to understand the other side (something rarely done, on either side, it seems); this is diplomacy to me.

To end this tirade (I have to work ya know), I want to throw out one last quote from the above mentioned article and let it be known again how ridiculously poor a choice I think our pres made with his selection for our rep in the UN (the error of his ways should have been clear when this diplomatic 'genius' declared his hatred of the UN and desire it be dismantled):

It was a rare one-on-one discussion between Bolton and Javad Zarif. Bolton has said previously there are a few diplomats at the U.N. he never talks to — from Iran, North Korea, Venezuela and Cuba.

Huh. Diplomacy at its finest. Refusal to communicate. Great idea when one of the counties mentioned (Venezuela) is one of our primary sources of oil... How can you know your 'enemy' (which implies facts and understanding) when you have no contact with them?

The guy (Bolton) is an arrogant idiot.

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I thought this was a short week? 

Oh man. Yesterday was supposedly Tuesday, yeah? Well, the way the day started off, it was an uphill battle to convince me that it wasn't Monday.

After oversleeping my alarm clock (didn't even hear it), I ran around getting ready in an attempt to make it to work before my staff meeting. In the process of rushing about, I broke one coffee mug and 4 plates. Don't ask. I'll just say that a squirrel, dishsoap and an especially raunchy David Allen Coe song were involved. It was messy.

Finally I made it out the door. On my back was my backpack, filled with goodies such as engineering books and my work clothes. And my lunch. And a fun book to read while eating the aforementioned lunch. It was a load. No worries, I'm a young buck (I am!) and the ride was flawless for a small portion of its length. A few blocks into my ride the Monday Curse kicked in. My right peddle broke off and I spilled onto the street, rolling under a lifted F-250 whose muffler was kind enough to snag me and arrest my progress. Regaining my feet, I collected my bike and its parts from the street and started hoofing it home.

Covered in grease and becoming increasingly late, I once again rushed around, dressing now in my 'good' clothes. Clean, enough, I got in the trusty Saturn and tore away.

Only to run out of gas a block from the gas station (which was fortunately a crowd-free downhill coast away).

Finally I made it to work, only to learn that there was no staff meeting. Just as well, I was late.

Thank the FSM the week is half over.

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Monday, May 29, 2006

Another death 

The principal from the movie "The Breakfast Club" just died.

Might have to run down to the video store to watch it. The movie, not his death.


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Plug in plug on tune it up 

Happy memorial day!

No bbq here. At least, not that I know of. The sun is attempting to peek out from behind the gray; we'll see if it's a success.

Think there might be a pirate festival down on the river. Another attempt being made to reduce global warning. Gotta love it! Did you know that (I think) Oregon adopted the Kyoto treaty stuff? As did Seattle and/or WA? (Call me on this if I'm wrong. I'm too overrested to do any research)? And guess what? No dire consequences!!

Slept too much last night. Again. Been doing that a lot this weekend.

Went wine tasting yesterday. That was a lot of fun. A buddy from CO was out and we and a couple of his friends sampled some ex-grapes. All around me seemed to be able to rank based on acidity and other stuff. Me? I tried to get more than my fair share (to make it more worth the price in my book). Already broke one of my glasses. Oops. The Willamette Valley was quite scenic and I enjoyed myself. Saw a dude in a flannel with torn off sleeves and a baseball cap with a fish hook stuck in it. That was awesome, and unexpected.

Ther lemur got loose last night, loping around the room, lofting lint and leces at me. All I said was lick me!

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Saturday, May 27, 2006

I am a slacker 

It's been quite a while since last I posted. I am finding out how eroded my time management skills have become. Between work and ONE class and paddling practices, I can't seem to find the time to do much else. In my defense, three days out of the week I don't get home until after 9pm, but still. Weak sauce.

Things are well. Work, while slow and tedious due to a lack of actual work, is good. I like the people and the company, and it will be nice to get some real work.

Went dancing last night, if you can believe that. Had fun too. Wanna hear something even crazier? I could go again (not tonight tho) and not complain. Who am I?

The weather has been pretty wet all week, but not too cold.

My bike got fixed up, tho it still needs work.

I just started a new book that thus far, is really good: "1421, The Year China Discovered America" by Gavin Menzies.

What else.....thinking isn't too clear right now; maybe tomorrow I can get something more exciting down here.

Got a new tattoo. A marmot on the bottom of my left foot. Why not? It seemed like a good idea at the time. It helps dispel the thoughts of vengeance I've harbored for the dreaded marmot since that day long ago when a pack of them banded together to attack and attempt to kill me and my companion. it was a dreary day, to be sure. Now, I get to mash the bastard into the ground with every step my left foot makes!!! Haha!! Die, marmot, die!!!

Time for tea and scones!

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Saturday, May 20, 2006

Worn out 

This may come as a shock to some of you, but I am feeling pretty worn out today! After months of, essentially, sitting on my ass all day, this week of extreme activity has left me run down!

Five days of work. Tough only because I've not had to think (in the manner necessary for this job) for a long time. Also, I've not had to be so social, with so many strangers, for such an extended period of time, for a very long time. That tuckered me out something fierce.

Add on to this the 3.6 miles or so I ride everyday to and from work (total of about 7.2 miles a day. Since I made the trip twice in one day and had practice today, I totaled about 43 miles for the week. Not counting a couple extra miles meeting people for lunch elsewhere in the city), the fact that my cube is on the fifth floor and I don't use the elevator, 3 paddling practices and one economics class (in which I had a test this week) and whew! A busy week!

Thank goodness I only went to one of the two paddling practices today. I would not have had enough gas for both.

At least when I ride it's leisurely and relaxing. Oh wait...not so much. I have yet to be able to convince my legs that they don't need to pump furiously all the way. Can't seem to relax. I did today though, on the ride back from practice. Part of that was due to my overall low energy level. Ah well!

Tomorrow, no exercise. Some walking around at a street art festival, but that's it. A nap in the park as well, if it's sunny again.

I could get used to this....

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Older stuff 

Just got some pictures from this past new years eve that I thought I'd post. One is on NYE, me and C. The other is down in the Florida wilderness, after a few day backpacking trip. Man, was my hair long! (I look kinda crazy in the NYE picture. I tell you what, having my picture taken is not something I do well)

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Friday, May 19, 2006


Here it is Friday night, and I survived my first week of work! Well, you couldn't call all of it work, since I didn't have much actual work to do this week, but I had a routine of sorts! Good times. How was it? Good. Really good, actually.

This new attitude of mine seems to be helping tremendously (Yes, I know it's only been a week. Don't remind me). I even stayed 'late' today! I worked a total of 33 or 34 hours this week. Crazy, I know. Almost got in a game of pool. It was kinda rainy today, so I ate my lunch in our lounge, at a table by the window overlooking the Willamette. I was going to rack 'em when my food gave out, but some guy was sleeping (look for a nap tale from me soon) so I read instead. A couple guys came in and played anyway, so next time I know. Awesome!


It's strange being back in the white collar world. I don't live in it, haven't been in it for quite a while now. There's still a lot of things I don't like about it. But for now, I'll deal. I don't like feeling as though I'm stepping around poverty when I go to work. There are some folks who I think are living in the grassy area out front of our building. When I head in, it's as though I am walking around them, over them, whatever, to get inside to a 'safer' place. I don't like it. But as one friend of mine said (my little sis would agree with this), maybe they feel sorry for me! Heh. That's a thought. The area around my work is interesting. Lots of office type jobby people, and lots of homeless. Mingling. Riding home was a riot the other day: there were old dirty homeless men sitting around in the grass and sun topless, not far from dolled-up girls in bikinis.

My legs hurt. I've made the ride to/from the office 5 times this week, and I've only used the elevator twice (I'm on the 5th floor). Feeling healthy, it's true. I like it

Free breakfast again this morning, this time on the bridge over the River. The crowd (all 6 of them) thought it was pretty funny when I locked up my brakes upon seeing the "Free Breakfast" sign.

It feels very very good to be doing something, even if it's sitting in a cube reading manuals. I feel like I'm making forward progress again, which was much needed.

I ate too much dinner.

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Dear Sizzle 

Should I wait to gloat more until I play my first game of pool? Or should I hold off until I take a mid-day nap on one of the comfy couches in our lounge?

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I may not be the greatest... 

But I do smell nice! I think I do, at least.

This was a good day. A ride left from the park next door and a group of bicyclists rode together to downtown, to Pioneer Square, where a gathering was being held for Bike to Workers. There was music, food, coffee, and a raffle!

However, since I am not a morning person and don't like talking in the morning, especially before my coffee, I didn't meet for the group ride. Instead I rode overly fast on my own to the square. Once there, I pounded a couple cups of coffee in time enough to feel social when my friend showed up (yes! I have a friend!). That went well. Made lunch plans with her and her friend (another new friend for me?) while having another coffee. The fun continued when I won a raffle prize! Unfortunately, I won lights for my bike (I already have some) instead of the new bike, like I'd hoped. Ah well. Free stuff is good!

Work happened (I had some to do!), I met yet another friend for lunch and then rode home, sweating like a maniac all the way.

Profusively overloaded with sexiness, I went to my accounting class and finished my test in about half an hour, leaving me with much free time tonight. What have I done with it? Well, um...talked to STILL another friend! Rented a great movie ("Kung Pow! Enter the Fist". Great high comedy). And I've eaten a lot. Maybe I'll have more?

I'm in the mood for some Ramen....that is not good news (I have none)

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Bike to work week! 

That's right, this is bike to work week. So, get outta your cars and bike in! It's good for ya, for so many reasons. After driving to work once, I was much happier to leave the car behind today and bike in. No stress from traffic, some exercise, and I was more awake at 830am than I (should) would have been otherwise. Yup, gonna do it again tomorrow and get some free coffee and breakfast downtown (there is a gathering for those biking in). Good times!

'Course that means I'll have to truck it back home after work to jump in the car (does it have any gas? Probably not) to drive up to class in time to take a test. Ah well. It'll be good for me

Day 2 at work went just peachy. Before the day ended I was able to get a couple hours of billable work in, which was nice. Up until then I'd been reading employee manuals, researching laws and such out here....and begging people for work (well, not begging. That would be bad to do the first week of work).

Had a nice lunch next to the river. Sat on a rock and ate my food, read my book, and enjoyed the beautiful weather. The rain stayed away for practice and my ride home. I tell ya, who says it rains in the NW (Let the jinxing commence)?

I should go get some sleepy. Gotta get up early tomorrow. Darn it all

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Monday, May 15, 2006

No problem! 

Day 1 = Success

Well, despite the incessant nightmares and the crappy night of sleep I got last night, Day 1 at the New Job went just fine! I wasn't even late! Not that there is any certain time I am supposed to arrive...

I arrived at the office around 830am, looking good and feeling pretty good (except for the riled up stomach. That only made for uncomfortness for a couple of hours.). Withoutt too much trouble I found a place to park and found my new desk. Very quickly, I settled in. Sort of. A staff meeting started the day (I didn't fall asleep!) and was followed by a couple of hours with HR, filling out forms and such. That was....fun? Really, it wasn't too bad because me and another new guy were sitting in a small conference room on the 7th floor with an eastward view (clear morning). Got to check out the mountains, the river and all the out door goodness while we chatted and got down to work. Lunch was free, and eaten during a marketing meeting at which I fessed up to having returned to work due to overwhelming brokedness. The crowd laughed. Me too.

The rest of the day was pretty unbillable. Drummed myself up some work, got a tour of the building....yeah, let's discuss that! What a place! Pretty much the entire 8 floor building is this company. Rad. On the fourth floor is the coolest breakroom I've ever had access to: lots of windows looking out over the river and mountains. Microwave, couches, comfy chairs, fridge...and a pool table and ping pong table! How awesome is that?!?! Yeah, I'll take advantage of that.

But I ain't done yet. Me and the lady I believe is my boss disussed my hours. She asked how many I was thinking I'd like to work. I said 32. She said ok....yes!! Granted, there will be times when work will pile up and I'll have to work 40 or so, but 32 (or so) was approved!! Right on! Might have to set myself up with a 4 day work week....hehe

Now I am home. And am meeting some friends for happy hour to celebrate. Overall, not a very rought day at all.

Further-not only was this hopefully the last day I'll wear a tie, but I also plan on it being one of the very few days I drive in. A 25 minute or so ride, only a little shorter by car. Gotta use the lockers and showers they provide. Don't want to waste them!

Let's see how rough tomorrow is...

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Bizarro World 

Whoa. It's been about a year and nice months since I last held a 'real' job. Today, I head back into the working world. I'm (relatively) clean shaven, my hair is shorter than it's been in a long time (not by choice. The guy cutting it went a bit wilder than I'd wanted. The free High Life had me distracted!) and as I went thru my clothes this morning I realized that I still don't like wearing ties (Today had better be the only tie day. Gotta make a good impression, ya know?).

So here we go. Back into things. Hopefully after today the work dreams will end. Last night was a continual avalanche of work-related dreams: late for work, forgetting that today was my first day of work until after 9am, lost at work, waking up mostly asleep at 3am panicked that today is my first day of work, etc etc.

Wish me luck!

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

See, not all Bush is bad! 

New York Times Opinion | May 9, 2006
Op-Ed Columnist: Bush Takes On the Brothels

There is one area where President Bush is making a historic contribution: he is
devoting much more money and attention to human trafficking than his

I'm guessing that President Bush's foreign policy will stand up about as well
to the assessments of future historians as a baby gazelle to a pack of

Yet there is one area where Mr. Bush is making a historic contribution: he is
devoting much more money and attention to human trafficking than his
predecessors. Just as one of Jimmy Carter's great legacies was putting human
rights squarely on the international agenda, Mr. Bush is doing the same for
slave labor.

We don't tend to think of trafficking as a top concern, so Mr. Bush hasn't
gotten much credit. But it's difficult to think of a human rights issue that
could be more important than sex trafficking and the other kinds of neo-slavery
that engulf millions of people around the world, leaving many of them dead of
AIDS by their early 20's.

My own epiphany came in 1989, when my wife and I lived in China and covered the
crushing of the Tiananmen Square democracy movement. Arrests of dissidents were
front-page news, but no one paid any attention as many tens of thousands of
Chinese women and girls were kidnapped and sold each year by traffickers to
become the unwilling wives of peasants.

Since then, I've seen the peddling of humans in many countries: the 8-year-old
Filipino girl whose mother used to pull her out of school to rent to
pedophiles; the terrified 14-year-old Vietnamese girl imprisoned in a brothel
pending the sale of her virginity; the Pakistani teenager whose brothel's owner
dealt with her resistance by drugging her into a stupor. The U.N. has estimated
that 12.3 million people worldwide are caught in forced labor of one kind or

In an age of H.I.V., sex trafficking is particularly lethal. And for every
political dissident who is locked up in a prison cell, hundreds of teenage
girls are locked up in brothels and, in effect, sentenced to death by AIDS.

In 2000, Congress passed landmark anti-trafficking legislation, backed by an
unlikely coalition of evangelical Republicans and feminist Democrats. Even
today, the Congressional leaders against trafficking include a conservative
Republican, Senator Sam Brownback, and a liberal Democrat, Representative
Carolyn Maloney.

But the heaviest lifting has been done by the State Department's tiny office on
trafficking — for my money, one of the most effective units in the U.S.
government. The office, led by a former Republican congressman, John Miller, is
viewed with suspicion by some career diplomats who fear that simple-minded
conservative nuts are mucking up relations with countries over a peripheral

Yet Mr. Miller and his office wield their spotlight shrewdly. With firm backing
from the White House (Mr. Bush made Mr. Miller an ambassador partly to help him
in his bureaucratic battles), the office puts out an annual report that shames
and bullies foreign governments into taking action against forced labor of all

Under pressure from the report, Cambodia prosecuted some traffickers (albeit
while protecting brothels owned by government officials) and largely closed
down the Svay Pak red-light district, where 10-year-olds used to be openly
sold. Ecuador stepped up arrests of pimps and started a national public
awareness campaign. Israel trained police to go after traffickers and worked
with victims' home countries, like Belarus and Ukraine. And so on, country by

Some liberals object to the administration's requirement that aid groups
declare their opposition to prostitution before they can get anti-trafficking
funds. But in the past, without that requirement, U.S. funds occasionally went
to groups promoting prostitution. And in any case, the requirement doesn't seem
to have caused many problems on the ground (partly because aid groups sometimes
dissemble to get money). In Zambia, India and Cambodia, I've seen U.S.-financed
programs work closely with prostitutes and brothel owners when that is needed
to get the job done.

Moreover, Ambassador Miller and his staff aren't squeamish prudes. Mr. Miller
is sympathetic to the Swedish model: stop punishing prostitutes, but crack down
on pimps and customers. He says that approach seems to have reduced more forced
prostitution than just about any other strategy.

The backdrop is a ridiculously divisive debate among anti-trafficking activists
about whether prostitution should be legalized. Whatever one thinks of that
question, it's peripheral to the central challenge: vast numbers of underage
girls are forced into brothels against their will, and many die of AIDS. On
that crucial issue, Mr. Bush is leaving a legacy that he and America can be
proud of.

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Too lazy to think... 

So I'll post another quote instead:

"One farmer says to me, 'You cannot live on vegetable food solely, for it furnishes nothing to make bones with;' and so he religiously devotes a part of his day to supplying his system with the raw material of bones; walking all the while he talks behind his oxen, which, with vegetable-made bones, jerk him and his lumbering plough along in spite of every obstacle."

-From Walden, Henry David Thoreau

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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

I suck, lately 

Not much to say, I guess. That should change in a few days, on Monday when I begin working again.

"Be like a headland of rock on which the waves break incessantly: but it stands fast and around it the seething of the waters sinks to rest."
-Marcus Aurelius

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Sunday, May 07, 2006

Geeksta Rap 

No, this is not a phrase I'm making up. It is a new movement I heard about recently and did some research on last night after a PBR or 2. Wow, this stuff is intense?

I'm linking to "MC Plus +", because he's a bad boy out of Purdue University, my alma mater. (Seems this guy has a 'rap war' going with a west coast nerd. Amazing.)

What this stuff is is rap, done up OLD school style by self-proclaimed nerds. It is quite dorky, yes. Check it out, listen to a couple of MCPP's songs. They are....interesting?

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Thursday, May 04, 2006

First time on a skateboard in a long long time 

Yes, I am old. Yes, it's been a long time (somewhere in the 15-20 year range) since I've been on a skateboard. No, I am not yet limber and graceful as a male ballerina. Stumbly, bumbly, that's me.

Regardless, after my long nap on Monday I ventured forth on the board to the Wild Oats several blocks away to pick up necessary items (cheese and kiwis). It was a rough and tumble start, to say the least. This board is much more pliant in the trucks than any board I ever had, making it easier to turn left/right without lifting the front of the board off the ground. This also tends to toss your balance (if you are me) side to side when trying to do anything. After many mutilated starts, bailings (no hitting the ground. I wasn't going nearly fast enough for that) and ugly 'boarding', I managed to get into a rhythm of sorts. Eventually, I arrived at the store. Unbruised, unscraped and with a highly cramped left foot.

A mixture of oddity and coolness washed over me as I wandered the store, board in hand. I was feeling a bit more 'Portland', which was nice. Until I walked out the front door. A couple dudes, also on boards, got to chatting with me and asked if I'd like to tag along with them for a 'good ride'. Playing it cool, I agreed, not wanting to break the facade of being un-poser. Our adventure started out innocently enough. Another friend of theirs had us grab onto his car (in the lot, fortunately, sos I didn't have to prove my incompetence right away by fumbling out of the lot) and he began dragging us up a large hill.

At the top, he pulled over and we coasted to the curb. The far side of the hill now facing me was quite a bit longer and steeper than the side we'd been dragged up. Nice pavement, few parked cars and no stop signs, it looked like a bomber's dream. I, on the other hand, felt my stomach clench and a kaleidoscope (who knew that was the technical term?) of butterflies took to the wing, quite agitatedly, in my stomach and upper torso. At first, I tried to beg off my participation "out of fear for the kiwis in my backpack". All I got in response was good-natured guffawing and comments about how funny I was. Damn.

I managed to set it up so that I'd be going last. My hope was that the driver would take off and I could hightail it (on foot) away from the scene while the others were on their downhill slide. No such luck. He stuck around, grinning, and even gave me a nice little push to send me on my way. He knew, the bastard.

Surprisingly, all went well. At first I rocked a bit from the looseness of the board; crouching down I grabbed the board with one hand, greatly steadying and straightening my descent. I was getting into it! My grin was smeared by a couple of large bugs and my hair whopped my eyes a couple of times, but otherwise it was awesome! Good speed, feeling of cameraderie with my new friends and excitement about my new toy.

Unfortunately, all was not roses. Or wide-open road. A car decided to pull-out in front of me right before the bottom of the hill and there was nothing I could do to avoid her. I hopped off the board but was moving too fast for my flailing feet to keep up. After a step or two I lurched forward and skipped off the hood of the car (the bum had stopped right in front of me, looking terrified)(this skipping was in the slow-motion typical of near-death events. Really adds to the rush, let me tell you!)(hell of a Bo Luke (the hotter Duke cousin) impression). My feet planted on the far side of the car but I was moving too fast to stay upright. Pitching forward I found myself going into a front handspring, vaulting off my hands back up into the air, after which my feet somehow landed on my still cruising board.

I wish I could say that I stayed on the board and cruised down to the accolades of my new buddies. That was not to be. My feet were still flailing and the board shot out behind me, pitching me once more in the direction of my face. Fortunately, I am a pro when it comes to falling (decades now, of practice) and after a brief slide, I went into a roll and came to a stop on my back against the curb.

To say the least, I was flooded with adrenaline. Up to my feet I hopped, in time to grab my board before it passed. Nary a bruise or true scrape adorned my glistening cuerpo, earning the everlasting praise of my buddies. Fortunately, I was also provided with a plausible excuse to walk home, keeping them from witnessing my true lack of grace.

The driver of the car was a sputtering mess and apologized profusely. I allowed her (very hot) to drive me home where we shared a slushy made from my kiwi remnants. I tried to tell her that I'd run across her on purpose, just to meet her (excessive adrenaline remnants). She didn't buy it. Her slushy was dumped on my head which she then pushed out the window, slamming it shut across my ears. Owie.

No, she did not agree to go on a date with me. I hate her!

"No, I didn't see you playing with your dolls again!"

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Another chink in the "World's Greatest County" armor... 

Banks, J., M. Marmot, et al. (2006). "Disease and Disadvantage in the United
States and in England." JAMA 295(17): 2037-2045.

Context The United States spends considerably more money on health care than
the United Kingdom, but whether that translates to better health outcomes is
Objective: To assess the relative heath status of older individuals in
England and the United States, especially how their health status varies by
important indicators of socioeconomic position.

Design, Setting, and Participants: We analyzed representative samples of residents aged 55 to 64 years from both countries using 2002 data from the US Health and Retirement Survey (n = 4386) and the English Longitudinal Study of Aging (n = 3681), which were designed to have directly comparable measures of health, income, and education. This analysis is supplemented by samples of those aged 40 to 70 years from the 1999-2002 waves of National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (n = 2097) and the 2003 wave of the Health Survey for England (n = 5526). These surveys contain extensive and comparable biological disease
markers on respondents, which are used to determine whether differential
propensities to report illness can explain these health differences. To ensure
that health differences are not solely due to health issues in the black or
Latino populations in the United States, the analysis is limited to
non-Hispanic whites in both countries.

Main Outcome Measure: Self-reported prevalence rates of several chronic diseases related to diabetes and heart disease, adjusted for age and health behavior risk factors, were compared between the 2 countries and across education and income classes within each country.

Results: The US population in late middle age is less healthy than the equivalent British population for diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, myocardial infarction, stroke, lung disease, and cancer. Within each country, there exists a pronounced negative socioeconomic status (SES) gradient with self-reported disease so that health disparities are largest at the bottom of the education or income variants of the SES hierarchy. This conclusion is generally robust to control for a standard set of behavioral risk factors, including smoking, overweight, obesity, and alcohol drinking, which explain very little of these health differences. These differences between countries or across SES groups within each country are not due to biases in self-reported disease because biological markers of disease exhibit exactly the same patterns. To illustrate, among those aged 55 to 64 years, diabetes prevalence
is twice as high in the United States and only one fifth of this difference can be explained by a common set of risk factors. Similarly, among middle-aged adults, mean levels of C-reactive protein are 20% higher in the United States compared with England and mean high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels are 14% lower. These differences are not solely driven by the bottom of the SES distribution. In many diseases, the top of the SES distribution is less healthy in the United States as well.

Conclusion: Based on self-reported illnesses and biological markers of disease, US residents are much less healthy than their English counterparts and these differences exist at all points of the SES distribution.

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Oh man 

Had class tonight. Not bad, I suppose. The excitement I was feeling had nothing to do with the subject material (accounting? Can't say I see any excitement there...). In fact, I think it was an excess amount of caffeine that had me jumpin'.

But that's not the point of my story. Today was a beautiful day. Sunny and warm. I got to class early and was sitting on a bench reading some Salinger (awesome awesome), enjoying the peace and quiet of the 'quad' and the warm sun splashing upon my face.


A lady from class sat down next to me, and proceeded to talk at least 100 miles an hour to me about....I'm not even sure what, as I could only hear about half of what she was saying and wasn't really listening to the other half. I do know that she told me that I was quite personable for an engineer (not sure how she could tell, as there were no pauses in her rambles for me to get more than a word or two in), that I looked like a surfer (?!) and that I must be left-handed because my watch was on my right arm. Um, ok...

The lecture part of class ended early, and we broke up into groups of four to work on homework. Chatty Lady was in my group of four as was the hottest girl in class and Chatty Man. Chatty Man sat next to me (sneaking Hot Girl's seat. We don't have assigned seats, but we've been sitting in the same ones for weeks now...) and he is nuts. Almost constantly talking, loudly, about irrelevant things. As we tried to work on the homework the guy NEVER stopped talking. Rambling, repeating, rambling some more, and making a ruckus. Chatty Lady had her homework done and was 'assisting' us with ours. Nice, but the combination of her and Chatty Man made for loud incomprehensible noise. Basically, I worked on my own and tried to work across the Chatties with Hot Girl who seemed to be a bit struggly. I struggled also-to not choke myself over the noise (I'd been having problems all class. People were not something I felt like being around, nor did I feel like being in class. Feeling a bit hermitish you might say. Noise does not help a closing throat....).

Finally, the class ended and I ran away.

My burrito dinner was very nice. I finished a crossword while I ate, giving me that sense of accomplishment that's been so lacking! Sad, sad...

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Denial of age 

30? Nah, I'm only 15 or so. The proof is above. Yup, that's my new skateboard. Rad, eh? I know the pics are not oriented correctly, but I'm lazy. Leave me alone. Turn your silly head

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Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Last night I went to Seattle
Today I drove back home
I slept not much
But had good fun
And now I want some tome

Skateboard arrived
Thank you upstairs neighbors I have yet to meet for bringin the box indoors
Thank you Mr Postman guy for deciding to work yesterday
Hello couch! Thank you for the pillow upon which I am about to lay my tired (and dirty and greasy) head
Good work self-control for kicking in and choosing a nap over coffee down the street
Good luck knees with Mr New Skateboard. Bleed we shall

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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