Thursday, June 29, 2006
Some random dude came up to me when I pulled my camera out of my backpack and offered to take pictures. "Why not", says I, and off he went. Took about 30 pictures in all. Not bad, I must say
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
For the record, I am not the Corey mentioned as having outdone himself with a special outfit to complement his tall-bike creation. Tho I wish I was. The Stephanie mentioned as having wed her bike is my friend.
It was a wild day!
Honest to god invitations went out a few days prior to the event (electronically, of course. She is quite the environmentalist) and the wedding party was formally asked to participate, and the wedding colors were now set out (lime green and orange).
As this was my first Bicycle Wedding, I felt it appropriate to do the event up in style. The morning of, I made the rounds of local thrift shops, searching for the perfect outfit. I returned home with orange (neon) suspenders and green pants. I already had the green shoes and orange shirt at home. To these items I added a santa claus tie (the only appropriately colored tie I had) and the green camo army hat that first became mine back in 1993 for a canoe trip in Canada.
Thusly attired, I mounted my own Schwinn and headed down to the park. Looking at the pictures of the wedding, you might guess that I stood out in the crowd due to the obnoxiousness brightness of it all. You would be guessing wrong. While I may have garnered some stares on the ride over, I barely fit in at the fair. Remember, this is Portland, OR; the biking community here is not only huge, but quirky as hell. It’s a sight to behold, and it’s awesome. If I’d thought to take pictures I would put those in; I won’t try to describe the attire of the other folks there. Imagine….anything striking, and it was there.
The ceremony took place on the edge of the fair, behind the tent that read (something like) “Marry Your Bike” in bright colors. The ‘priest’ did have a collar. As well as a pierced septum and ear plugs (tattoos, of course). A very nice guy. We chatted up at the altar as Sparky and I awaited Steph’s approach.
As priestman told me how this wedding was already eclipsing the 12 previous ceremonies he’d conducted that day, Steph was busy arranging the many guests (perhaps 20 invited, the rest comprised of curious bystander and 2 ecstatic self-proclaimed wedding crashers (I suggested they set their sights a bit higher)) so as to create an aisle. That done, the crowd started singing a wedding march (some random song Steph came up with ); mom and brother came up the ailse, followed by 3 impromptu bridesmaids, and finally by the bride and her dad (who gave Sparky a swift kick on his way past. Of course he did! Sparky and Steph are obviously on familiar terms-before their wedding!).
Stepping up, Steph recited her vows in a tremulous voice (me and priestman tried hard not to laugh. The rest of the crwd was not so behaved)(PM almost read off his own vows, until I told him that we had our own. He was impressed). I then vowed for the bike and PM gave the rings with which they became wed. A quick smooch and the couple rode off, smashing into the marriage tent (riding a bike is not easy in a wedding dress, I assume).
A short reception was held in the shade, complete with cookies and muffins and bootlegged beer.
That done, we headed off for the bar. Steph and I rode our respective Schwinns, while everyone else drove.
This was the best part of the day. Steph’s dad showed up with a string of cans which we tied to her seatpost. It only took a block before the first can broke its line and bounded across the road, quickly followed by another and another. After these initial 3 cans, I gave up chasing them down. My pockets were full, we had turned onto a major road and we were ‘late’ for the bar. I now turned my attention to capturing the moment on film. Steph rode down the middle of the center lane (she’d changed out of her dress) with her veil flying in the wind and the remaining clanking along behind her (occasionally dashing away). The sidewalk tables of bars and restaurants were filled with people who all stopped talking to gawp at the spectacle. Cars honked (in celebration, not in annoyance at the clanking bride and idiot chasing photog), people clapped and cheered, it was awesome. I finally managed to get my camera out and prepped (somehow without crashing) and snapped a couple pictures from behind as we cruised. I rule.
That is pretty much it. A strange day, but a lot of fun. I’ll put up some more photos later
What a lovely....couple? (I am only the best man. The wedding colors were orange and lime green, hence my outfit)
Saturday, June 24, 2006(0) comments
I'm not even going to look to see when last I posted. The problem, people, is that when I sleep early at night and get up early in the AM, the creative side of my brain doesn't function. Only when it's late to bed, late up do I have any juice to flow.
Regardless. It's picture time! First, some pictures of the yurt we stayed in last weekend. Fancy, no?
Monday, June 19, 2006
It was in a campground, unfortunately, with lots of screaming kids (who fortunately go to sleep early). But the campground abuts the beach. Very cool. The yurt itself? Well. The first detail to hit me (because it was the first one I came to) was the firepit, then the roof overhanging a picnic table on a small deck. Inside was a bunkbed, the lower bed was at least a double mattress. A futon. A table and chairs. Lights and a heater. Pretty swank, if you ask me.
That day and the next (Sunday, it be) were quite lazy. A quick snack on the blustery chilly beach was followed by a 2-hour nap. Soon after was a dinner, fire (I got a box of strike anywhere matches. They are the best! For some reason, however, lighting a match on my teeth failed to impress), some wine and then more sleeping.
Sunday dawned gray but nice. We walked around the small beach town of Manzanita which was quite cool. Contrary to what we expected, they had plenty of organic, fair-trade, local granola-y goodness all over town. But no where to eat. No matter, the nice girls in the coffee shop directed us to Wanda's a couple miles down the road which served up the best (and only) huevos rancheros I've had in a long time.
Cool weekend. A nice relaxing almost 2 days which was very much needed.
To top it off, after work today I went and sat in a hot tub for about 40 minutes before a massage and more hot tub time! Very cool. A nice small place down the street. The lady working over my back was amazed at the plethora of knots dotting my back and shoulders. "A desk job" I told her. She laughed. Sort of
In a short bit it's off to the airport to pick up a visiting friend. Hoora!
Better go get dinner started...
Friday, June 16, 2006
Very tired today
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Yup. Hank III once again. And a hell of a show it was (of course). Hank didn't come on until almost 11pm, and I was up against a pillar next to the bar. The place was packed and crazy from the get-go. The crowd was an amazing mix of people: bikers, hipsters, punks, rednecks, old and young, tattoos everywhere. There were even a couple of yuppie looking dudes walking around looking (and feeling, from the way they were talking) a way out of place. I was nice and cozy, tucked away with a good view of the stage and within an arm's length of the bar (which ran out of Iron City beer way too early. Fortunately they had a ready supply of Miller High Life to step in).
The mosh pit was going immediately. The front half or so of the place was bouncing and dancing and slamming and rollicking well. When I turned to see how the crowd behind me was doing, I was stunned at the dour looks and lack of animation at virtually everyone behind me. Huh.
At some point, and older lady (not that old) and her fireplug shaped man walked up and took root ahead of me (believe it or not, I was taller than both of them!). No worries, until this lady started staring at me, trying to talk to me, telling me how she was an old hippie who simply wanted to flail dance because that is what hippies do and what is wrong with all those people flinging around up there? (While saying this, she was shoving anyone who came near her). Then she started grabbing my hand, hugging my arm, trying to rest her face against mine...I felt like my brother (older crazy girls love him). I ignored her, and finally she left me alone.
People were getting kicked out, but I saw no fights. Ole' Hank was cussin' up a storm and his throat sounded raw as hell. Nothing that a rotating stream of whiskey throat lozenge spray and water couldn't take care of! Tributes were paid by way of song to Hank Sr and Jr, DAC, Wayne Hancock....good times. Before he came on the speakers were blasting DAC, Hanks, Merle, Waylon, WIllie....and some crazy masher music.
Hell of a show. I left around 1am a bit dazed, deafer, and quite wired. I didn't stay for the second set (thrash metal), as I had work to do. Plus, I was dangerously close to getting into the pit. Don't want to do that, might break a hip!
I did not make it to work early today.
But I did take my accounting final.
Tonight I have to try and fix up my bike. Start learning languages. And get into James Joyce's 'Ulysses'. After all, Friday is 'Bloom's Day'! I am heading to a bar to listen to people read the book. I am told this one bar is going to try and have it read aloud. All of it. In one day. It took me I don't know how many train rides, flights and beach time to get thru it. Amazing, if they can do it. Gotta put out a call for auctioneers, I think. I'll let you know how it goes.
Tomorrow night after practice I'm meeting up with other cyclists to watch 'breaking away' or 'break away' I forget. Good flick, complete with a Beck look-alike!
Time to start dinner.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
"It is never beneficial to a nation to have a military
operation continue for a long time."
War is destructive, disruptive, and expensive. So it pays
to win quickly and go home. Better yet, get your way
without fighting at all. "Those who render others' armies
helpless without fighting," writes Sun Tzu, "are the best
-The Art of War, Sun Tzu
Monday, June 12, 2006
Yesterday the Castaways took second place in the B division!! This is the best the team has finished, maybe ever? It was great. The final race almost became full contact; the team next to us wandered over into our lane and we were fighting their wake while trying not to smash into them. The finish for 2nd/3rd was of the photo variety, and 10 minutes later they announced that we got 2nd! Very exciting. There was an awards ceremony and everything, and I have a medal to hang up somewhere.
That was the first competition I've participated in in a long time. Very exciting. In 2 weeks there is another down in Salem. I can't wait!
(more picture later when I get some)
Sunday, June 11, 2006
Our team (The Castaways) did pretty well yesterday. We were a close second in both of our heats and were 15th out of 60 teams. Today we are in the quarter finals, against teams who had slower times than us. Which means our chances of reaching the semis are not too bad. I need to leave very soon, but I'll attach some photos from yesterday. I am the rippling biceply stud in the blue PFD and black hat.
Friday, June 09, 2006
Have I posted about this? Probably. My memory is a bit stulted these days
Tomorrow is my first dragonboat race. We have 3 races tomorrow, I think. One at 10am, one at 4pm, and I think another one at some time. Hopefully we will do well and will get to race on Sunday for medals and such. Very exciting. I have a designated camerawoman, so there should be some pictures to share come...some day after tomorrow. I think some of my friends are even going to come down and watch (the later race). Pray for sun! Carlin Nalley extraordinaire.
Hit up the coast yesterday for work. Very beautiful. Very beach-towny. A short stay, but a longer one is in the works for next weekend. A yurt has been reserved! How cool is that? Too bad it is in a campground. Car-camping in a yurt seems sacrilegious, but so it goes
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
This was all well and good except for the fact that I rode the skateboard to work. And had class tonight, and left work late. It had to be amusing to watch me cranking across the bridge with a computer box under my arm. I am amazed that I didn't crash and break anything. Regardless, I am sure silliness was the tone of the day
Man. Nothing worthwhile to say. Too worn out. I'm burning all around the candle right now. Good thing tomorrow is a day of field work-field work out on the coast at that.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Work went. Hours later I played a few games of pool before settling in for a couple of hard-working hours of paddling. As if that was not enough, I then had to get back on my bike and pedal home! I know, it's rough being me.
Laundry got done, so did the dishes, I've done some reading and have obtained several podcasts to assist me in improving my spanish.
Overall, this was a pretty boring day of the beast. 6/6/06 and I didn't even crash my bike.
Only thing left to do is go to sleep
Wonder if anything bad will happen today? So far the world hasn't ended....or has it?
Today has been productive so far. Homework, cleaning the house, biking (yay! Bike is fixed again!) and now work. Way to go me!
Tonight, perhaps a little pool before 2 hours of paddling. (I have my own PFD now. Very exciting. It is blue)
Monday, June 05, 2006
It's come to my attention (thru emails and comments) that perhaps I should rephrase the 'title' of this blog, something other than my being a 'repressed engineer'. Any suggestions? I'll see what I can come up with.
Work goes well, but I need to make more effort getting in touch with the outside world. Too much going on. This upcoming weekend is my first Dragon Boat race (during Portland's Rose Festival) which should be a lot of fun. It is also the start of pedalpalooza, weeks of activities celebrating bikers (not drivers). Good times. Should be a lot of fun. We'll see how many things I can get into. The festival opens this Saturday with a dance thinger, midnight (nekkid) bike ride and fun times. Might have to miss the zanyness since we'll hopefully be racing Sunday!
Here are two quite good, but depressing articles. But quite good for thought production.
Thursday, June 01, 2006
Where India shining meets great depression
In the village, we demolish their lives, in the city their homes. The smug
indifference of the elite is matched by the governments they do not vote in,
FARM SUICIDES in Vidharbha crossed 400 this week. The Sensex crossed the 11,000
mark. And Lakme Fashion Week issued over 500 media passes to journalists. All
three are firsts. All happened the same week. And each captures in a brilliant
if bizarre way a sense of where India's Brave New World is headed. A powerful
measure of a massive disconnect. Of the gap between the haves and the
have-mores on the one hand, and the dispossessed and desperate, on the other.
Of the three events, the suicide toll in Vidharbha found no mention in many
newspapers and television channels. Even though these have occurred since just
June 2 last year. Even though the most conservative figure (of Sakaal
newspaper) places the deaths at above 372. (The count since 2000-01 would run
to thousands.) Sure, there were rare exceptions in the media. But they were
just that -- rare. It is hard to describe what those fighting this incredible
human tragedy on the ground feel about it. More so when faced with the silence
of a national media given to moralising on almost everything else.
Read the entire article here
> By Sebastian Mallaby
> Monday, May 29, 2006; Page A23
> The Bush administration's critics should give credit where it's due. And
> when it comes to the global AIDS crisis, it is due -- big-time.
> Five years ago, the U.S. government's total contribution to fighting
> HIV-AIDS abroad stood at $840 million. The Bush team was rightly pilloried
> for trade policies that impeded poor countries' efforts to buy cheap generic
> AIDS drugs. But at the start of 2003, the administration had a hallelujah
> moment. In that year's State of the Union address, President Bush promised
> $15 billion over five years to fight the pandemic. It was the biggest
> commitment to a global health challenge announced by any government, ever.
> Naturally, there were skeptics. The administration's envoys endured boos and
> yells at international AIDS conferences; they will probably face more at
> this week's United Nations AIDS summit. But three years after Bush's $15
> billion pledge, the skepticism has proved mostly unfounded.
> One doubt was that the administration wouldn't back its rhetoric with money.
> Well, since the president's pledge, spending on global AIDS programs has
> risen steadily: to $2.3 billion in 2004, $2.7 billion in 2005 and to $3.3
> billion this year. The administration's budget for 2007 requests $4 billion
> from Congress, more than quadruple the level in 2001. So the Bush team is on
> target to exceed the $15 billion promise.
> A second doubt was that the administration would waste money by purchasing
> branded AIDS drugs. Generics are not only cheaper than patented medicines;
> by combining two or three drugs into a single pill, they also make it
> simpler for patients to take their meds as they're supposed to. But the Bush
> administration began by refusing to buy pharmaceuticals that lacked approval
> from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, effectively closing the door to
> non-branded AIDS therapies.
> Starting in 2004, the administration fixed this problem. It directed the FDA
> to license generics for use in U.S. global AIDS programs, even when those
> generics could not be sold in the United States because they infringed U.S.
> patents. The skeptics continued to insist that obstacles lurked in the FDA's
> complex rules. But generic after generic was soon licensed, and in some
> countries around two-thirds of U.S. spending on AIDS drugs now goes to
> non-branded medicines. Given how often foreign aid is tied to exports from
> donor countries, it's remarkable that the Bush team stiffed Big Pharma in
> favor of cost-effective help for AIDS patients.
> A third doubt about the administration's AIDS promise concerned sexual
> abstinence. When it agreed to back Bush's AIDS initiative, Congress laid
> down that a third of the prevention budget should be used to advocate
> abstinence and faithfulness. The scientific literature suggests that
> combining abstinence messages with teaching about condoms can delay sexual
> debut and save lives but that abstinence-only messages are ineffective. So
> the congressional earmark, to which the administration acquiesced, seemed
> like a classic Republican mistake: a triumph of social-conservative ideology
> over science.
> This complaint is right -- but should not be exaggerated. Most of the U.S.
> AIDS budget goes toward treating people and caring for the dying and
> orphans. Abstinence and faithfulness teaching consumes only 7 percent of the
> total, and an unknown fraction of that is constructively combined with
> teaching about condoms. The critics cite a few wacko preachers who have
> received U.S. money even though they proclaim that condoms don't work, and
> the Government Accountability Office has described how the abstinence
> earmark complicates the work of front-line AIDS groups. But it's wrong to
> paint the entire Bush AIDS program as a Christian-conservative plot when the
> abstinence-only stuff is relatively limited.
> The most serious criticisms of the Bush AIDS program are that it involves
> too little collaboration with local governments and fellow donors and that
> pouring millions into AIDS sucks health workers away from other vital
> diseases. But even these criticisms can go too far. When the Bush program
> was set up, the noncollaborative approach was a way to get results quickly;
> now, by some accounts, collaboration is improving. In the early stages,
> equally, pouring money into AIDS programs was bound to siphon health workers
> away from other things. But there's talk that the administration may correct
> this problem, maybe by launching a program to train community health workers
> in poor countries.
> It's not that the Bush program is perfect, and it's not that the
> administration is the lone hero of the AIDS crisis. The Global Fund to Fight
> AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which was set up just four years ago, has
> channeled $5 billion toward those diseases; the Bush team should acknowledge
> its contribution less grudgingly, especially since the United States
> provides 30 percent of the fund's resources. Yet the bottom line is that the
> administration has faced up to a killer that's taken 25 million lives in the
> 25 years since its discovery. There's much more to be done -- 5 million more
> people get infected every year. But if you want to denounce rich countries
> for their negligence, the United States is the wrong target.