More good fortune (for me)

July 26, 2006 at 10:57 pm (Environment, Random)

One of the major objectives of my summer project is to figure out what to do with an abandoned amusement park and an abandoned trailer park. The Forest Service acquired these properties piecemeal 10-25 years ago, with a mandate from Congress to restore the natural ecology, and has done absolutely nothing with them. I could go on about that for a while, but I’ll just say the areas are a mess.

I have become fascinated with the idea of completely artificial landscapes being abandoned, and seeing how nature reclaims the area. The trailer park, for example, has an artificial lake, held up by a dike/tidegate system, which is in the midst of a catastrophic failure. The Lake has flooded the surrounding lowlands, and as a result the wildlife includes an odd mix of anaerobic muck, dragonflies, birds, emergent freshwater wetland species (this is in the middle of an estuary), invasive plants, and dead trees that have been flooded out in the past year or so. It is eerily beautiful.
Yesterday, The Schriz and I took some kayaks out on the lake to get some depth measurements. If you remove the dikes, how long will it take for the stream to find it’s old channel? was the question we were asking. Probably not too long, we determined, since the lake isn’t very deep. And all the falling trees would provide great salmon spawning grounds.

I took the kayaks back in the evening, only to later learn that we get to keep them until we’re done (2.5 weeks). In fact, the truck they were in can’t park where we got it, due to space limitations. So I have to go get them and bring them back to the house. Now I have a F-250 and two free kayaks at my disposal for the rest of my little “vacation.”

In other news, the local blackberry population has begun referring to me as the “Butcher of Otis.” I never knew it could be so much fun to hack things up with a machete and devour the remains. Of course, as an eradication method, that is about as effective as draining the ocean with a tablespoon.


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Jaw-dropper of the week

July 25, 2006 at 6:32 am (Uncategorized)

About 2 weeks ago I got a flat tire.  I put on my spare but the flat has been sitting in the back of my car until today, when I finally decided to see about getting it fixed.  I pimped it on down to Stinkin’ Lincoln City, where I knew there was a Les Schwab Tire store.  (brace yourself for an uncharastically shameless endorsement).

I asked them to see if they could fix it, and then rotate my tires.  I had never been there before and expected to blow anywhere from 25-50 bucks, which in my mind would have been reasonable (Money, you may recall, can be exchanged for goods and services.)  I sat there for an hour and 15 minutes, when the dude walks out and tells me he’s done.

Him: “You’re all set.  Just so you know, that right rear is looking pretty bad.”

Me, bracing for inevitable sales pitch: “Yeah, they’re all going to need replaced before too long.” (this is true)
Him: “Alright, well have a good day.”

Me: [Pause] “I haven’t paid yet.”

Him: “Oh, there’s no charge.”

Me: [Long pause] “Are you serious?”

Him: “Yep.  Have a good one.”

Well, I am having a good one.  I just can’t believe they didn’t charge me anything.  That really made my day.  It cancelled out the combined joy of 5 hours of sleep and interacting with my hippie roomate who I think is coming down off a mescaline trip she started last Thursday.  They didn’t just check my oil and air pressure, they jacked the thing up and took all my tires off and injected some gunk that fixes pinhole leaks.  Contrast that with Jiffy Lube, who wanted to charge me 25 bucks for a rotation, on top of the 40 I coughed up for the so-called “Signature Service.”  So here’s to old Les–I’ll definitely be back for the ground beef special.

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July 21, 2006 at 4:09 pm (Uncategorized)

Man shot in groin at PSU campus.  I’m pretty sure I have parked there before, and some poeple I know work across the street.  Why the University hasn’t made acquiring and demolishing these seedy, hourly-rate ratholes a priority in its expansion activities is beyond me.  They just remodeled this place.

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Mean girls

July 21, 2006 at 3:54 pm (Politics, Portland)

I have been meaning to post something about this for a while, but words expressing my dusgust have eluded me.  But this letter pretty well sums up my feelings on county government here in Portland.

You had an opportunity to actually change the world. To change the way women are viewed as leaders. To change the way politics is done. To make a truly significant difference in the lives of everyday people.

But unfortunately, you have chosen a different path – a path of egotism, self-righteousness and downright petty high school-like girl-fighting. Does it make you proud? Sure, you’ve done some good work, but you will forever be labeled a “mean girl.” Wow, what a legacy.

Someone should have pointed out in the job description that this is a government, not a sorority.  Petty infighting cost Diane Linn her job, and the other ladies on the commission shouldn’t bother running for re-election.  It also cost taxpayers valuable government services and cost the government the respect of its enablers, because of cattyness and territorial pissings.  For this and other reasons, county governments should be eliminated, at least in urban areas, with jurisdictional boundaries redrawn on regional economic lines, rather than what some grizzled 1860s prospecter thought was a good idea.

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I’m sorry

July 21, 2006 at 1:47 am (Random)

I forgot to remind people about World Jump Day.  So, when global woraming doesn’t stop, you can blame me.

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Kenny Boy

July 8, 2006 at 8:55 pm (Uncategorized)

Someone told me last night that the wikipedia entry on Ken Lay changes every few minutes, with all sorts of wild conspiracy theories about the manner of his death being replaced with more measured (read: realistic) musings.  Right now someone has him as being part of the witness protection program.  Of course, by the time you click on it, it will probably have been changed.

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July 8, 2006 at 8:44 pm (Uncategorized)

The girl who is coordinating this thing I am doing over the summer is great.  She’s nice, kind of cute, and very enthusiastic about the work she does.  But good lord is she a space cadet.  We’ve been here 3 weeks and are still trying to obtain copies of the software we will need to do basically everything we need to do.  The same software we discussed in detail during my interview in March.  Say what you will about being slaves to technology, it is a subservience I have embraced.  Some of us are seriously considering “obtaining” our own copies of these highly proprietary programs, although I should probably add some sort of disclaimer at this point about how the project sponsors don’t endorse pirating, etc., they just kind of tacitly require it.

Then there’s the internet thing.  I bought a digital camera about a month ago, and have taken hundreds of photos, several of which are worth looking at.  Most of you have yet to see my weather station.  But I don’t yet have reliable internet access to post big stuff like pictures.  My last soiree at the internet bar ended up in a hangover and less productive work session than I had anticipated, so that option is not the best one at this point.  Well, “we” ordered internet service for “our” house in March, but someone forgot the password she set up to actually get on line.  We called her and asked for all sorts of personal info, first pet, last 4 SSN digits, then called the ISP, but the informaiton was wrong.  Let me repeat that: she didn’t know her pet’s first name or SSN.  I suppose she could have just used her mother’s maiden name, but that would have been too easy.

Somehow that issue was resolved, but then we learned that the local phone company doesn’t support the type of service “we” ordered.  (ISDN?  It’s a kind of glorified dial-up)  You would think that kind of thing would have been verified in March, when technological and workspace arrangements were being made.  But that would have required those arrangements to actually have been made.

So here I am, sitting at an elementary school that was once a barn.  Don’t call, you’ll get a busy signal.  It would be great if I didn’t need to download 2 GB of crap from an ftp site.  I think I am going for a bike ride.

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A real website

July 5, 2006 at 11:54 pm (Uncategorized)

“You know you’re in Oregon when you live in a National Forest and the closest place to get a beer is a McMenamins.” So that’s where I am, Lighthouse Square in Linclon City, sandwiched between a drive through donut shop and a Safeway, having me an IPA and accessing the internets. This is also the only place that doesn’t charge for non-dialup internet access. I’ll be a regular before the corn hits your shoulder.

In addition to the actual planning project I am engaged in this summer, the 5 of us have each taken on various administrative tasks. I have recently been elected Head Website Guy. It sucks. I have spent about 30 minutes on it so far, just figuring out the content manager and removing the ridiculous placeholders they provide when you register for a website from our website provider. Check back periodically if you are really interested. Or not.

In other news, I have a new necklace that I really like. My foot hurts. I forgot my golf clubs when I was in Portland this weekend. Apparently the golf course near here is prime elk habitat, and I am hoping to play a few rounds and write it off as a business expense. I was back in town over the weekend, finishing off a whirlwind tour of the state with a few friends from college. The coast, Mt. Hood, the city, the only thing we didn’t do was go to a winery. Dad will be in town in a few weeks, maybe I can work it then. Suggestions?

For now, I need to get back to figuring out how to do a non-blog website. But I hope I can post some pictures soon, as I seem to have a place with the technology necessary to do it: overlooking the plaster lighthouse that, together with McDonald’s and Walgreens, forms a perfect bookend to the 6 lane arterial that is Main Street Lincoln City.

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