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!

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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.

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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