I’ve decided blogging isn’t for me. I’ll leave this blog here to be a nice reminder for me of my struggle to quit smoking. I’ve enjoyed finding unusual things to share with any who happened to stop by. I’ve also enjoyed telling about our travels. And of course, who doesn’t like to rant about the nuttiness and injustices in the world?

There simply are too many blogs. There are millions of them, millions of people with something to say. I no longer wish to add to the noise, confusion, whining, opinions, and conceit.


The journey

"To engage with the summons of our souls is to step into the deepest ocean, uncertain whether we will be able to swim to some new, distant shore. And yet, until we have consented to swim beyond the familiar lights of the port left behind, we will never arrive at a newer shore."

~James Hollis, from Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life


I cried, I laughed, I enjoyed every minute of it, over and over

This is the best video I've ever seen. Best = most uplifting, happiest, most amazing in it's scope, and even most educational. I watch it over and over. (The video is Dancing 2008, the image is from his earlier video.)

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

I hope you'll go visit Matt. His site is wonderful.

Oh, and buy some Stride gum.


Just for laughs

I found out what lolcats are and I'm addicted. I'm usually a little late for these parties, but oh well, who cares? Amirite?

And who doesn't like Maxine? Oh, really?

Ron Mueck

Artists. They do the most amazing things. Like:

Ron Mueck - For more of the funniest videos, click here

A sort of funny thing, but not exactly

I read an article about lawsuits against Wal-Mart (or is it WalMart, I can't remember and am too lazy to look it up and they keep changing it). It looks like the company could face over $2 billion in fines. Yowza! I hate WalMart. I feel like I lose about 100 IQ points just walking in the door, not to mention feeling guilty for being willing to purchase anything that they sell.

The article is by Inspired Protagonist over at Seventh Generation. Here's part of the article:

Altogether, Wal-Mart faces more than 70 lawsuits, filed throughout the country, in which employees have accused the company of making them work off the clock or miss required breaks. Cheating people who make so little is pretty unconscionable. But to learn that the practice was part of a national strategy, well, that’s a sad statement on big business.

Now, here's the part that I thought was sort of funny: In the comments section, there are WalMart apologists! Yes! It's so weird to me that people would go to an article in the Seventh Generation Newsletter and write nice things about WalMart, or worse, criticize people who are damning WalMart. It's sort of funny because it reminds me of $cientology trolls who make a habit of flaming all over stories/articles/comment sections that are critical of $cientology. But not exactly funny because it's disgusting.

I'm just saying.


Rodrigo Y Gabriela

Like guitar music? Like new, young, fresh musicians? Try this:


Anonymous strikes again!!

This is the best Anonymous video so far. Nothing shows how much fun they are having like this great piece. It's 4 1/2 minutes of pure pleasure.

Your Mission: Spy vs Sci from LRonHu88ard on Vimeo.

Join us on July 12 for Spy vs. Sci. It's a very fun way to change the world.

The Kid Safe Chemicals Act

From Environmental Working Group:

"The human race is now polluted with hundreds of industrial chemicals with little or no understanding of the consequences. Babies are born pre-polluted with as many as 300 industrial chemicals in their bodies when they enter the world. Testing by Environmental Working Group has identified 455 chemicals in people, and again, no one has any idea if these exposures are safe."

Do you get it? It seems to me that global warming isn't going to matter -- our species won't be able to reproduce in a few generations. Visit EWG and see what you think.


Exploring Portland: Audubon Society

Kim and I and Jeff spent an hour on Sunday looking at possible houses, even though we've made up our minds that Blueberry Hill is the absolute best. I haven't written about this house, but as soon as it's ours, I'll show you why we held out for it.

After wasting some gas driving all over Portland, we needed some good physical exercise. Haris had told me that a visit to the Audubon Society was a must, so that's where we headed. It's at 5151 NW Cornell Rd., right on the edge of Forest Park. I wanted to see some rescued birds and hike in the lush Oregon primeval forest -- and I wasn't disappointed.

I love trees. Even that awful tree in our front yard in Clearwater -- we spent hours pulling up the sprouted seeds from that tree -- was truly a beautiful tree.

That's our favorite bird, the turkey vulture. This poor guy was enjoying some road kill when a motorist tried to make him into someone else's dinner. He won't be released -- he was too badly injured. But he's extremely well cared for here.

I'm a big fan of helping folks who are doing good works. The Audubon Society has been around forever and I've never really paid much attention to all the good they do and the myriad ways they improve our world. So I dropped a few thousand dollars in the gift store to help them out.


Just because

"Greg thought he was so clever to make this rigid mesh bag to hold our clams alive on our boat anchor while we are at the island--- but the sunflower sea stars are more clever, as they can eat the clams right through the bag!"

This is from Lauri, our lovely friend up north. You can read more about her life in Alaska here.


Alien Boy...

...is the name of a documentary film being made here in Portland. Matt Davis is the writer and Brian Lindstrom is the director. (The picture to the right is James Chasse in 2004.)

From the Alien Boy site:

In September 2006 James Chasse was tackled by three law officers on a downtown street corner before a dozen eyewitnesses. James was not suspected of a crime, he had not committed a crime.

The officers beat him, kicked him, broke 17 ribs and his shoulder. They used a Taser on him repeatedly. He screamed for mercy. The officers thought James was a drug dealer, a homeless person, a non-person, a ghost. They were wrong. James was a poet, a musician, he had a family which loved him, friends, neighbors, dreams and hopes. He was an artist; a small, shy, gentle person. And he was a person with schizophrenia.

James was sent by paramedics to jail. Jail nurses refused to admit him. He died en route to a hospital in a police car driven by the same officers who had earlier beaten him.

A grand jury refused to indict those officers. The City and County refused to terminate or discipline them.

Alien Boy is a feature length documentary film about the life and death of James Chasse.

I'd like to encourage everyone who reads this to support the efforts of the filmmakers to get this project done. That, of course, means $$. Help them out. It's important. And read up on what happened to James Chasse. Whew.


Road trip: Anna, Illinois

After our night in Chattanooga, we drove to Paducah, Kentucky (a short trip, only 267 miles). The next morning, we decided that a side trip was in order, so we headed out early and took a county road instead of the freeway.

One of the coolest parts of a long road trip is not being in a hurry -- feeling that exploration is time well spent, especially in small towns. We chose Anna, Illinois. Just because.

A little research into the town of Anna tells us that it was a sundown town (non-whites were not allowed to live in or pass through the town after the sun went down) and that as of the 2000 census, Anna is 96.2% white. Anna is the name of the founder's wife, but there is a story that in 2005 a store clerk told James Loewen (the inventor of the neologism "sundown town") that Anna stood for "ain't no niggers allowed." Yuck. The town has a total area of 3.4 square miles and the area around it is primarily farm land, as it has been since it was founded in 1854. (If you want bigger pictures, click 'em.)

Of course we had to stop for breakfast on our way to Anna. Somewhere outside of town we found this little place and had us some greasy eggs and really bad coffee. Yum. At least the waitress was nice. The rest of the people looked at us like we were from Mars.

The first thing we saw when we got to Anna proper was this antique store. It turned out that inside was the very famous Anna Kirkpatrick Pottery Museum. The pottery itself is fascinating and the stories about the two brothers who created it are fabulous. If you're into old stuff and funny stuff, follow the link -- you'll love it.

After an hour of Mr. Isom's great storytelling, we wandered around the little town. It's mostly old buildings in various stages of decay, but it's got life and spirit and I'll wager their 4th of July celebrations offer up the best BBQ, apple pie and fireworks you'll find anywhere.

These are the kinds of pictures I like -- sort of for flavor, you know? Flowers, old bricks, windows, and so on. It's an interesting little town. I suspect it would be okay to live there, everybody knowing your business, hearing every detail of other people's lives. Hmmm, but not for me.

We wanted to follow a road along the Mississippi River up to St. Louis, but we never could quite find it, in fact, we got really lost. Oh well. We saw some beautiful countryside and we did get a glimpse of the Mighty River.

It was a long day. We drove over 500 miles that day. And the first town we got to outside of St. Louis happened to be hosting some gigantic soccer thing and every hotel/motel was booked. We got back on the road. Arghh. Gotta love it. That's a road trip at it's finest.


Slayde spends the summer in Juneau

Slayde and Ben have gone off to the far north for the summer. She is doing an internship with a law firm there. Have I mentioned that she's going to slay dragons for us? It's an environmental law law firm. Heh heh. Don't we love it?

Well, Slayde and Ben are both outdoor enthusiasts -- fishing, hiking, shooting Bambi, oh wait, that's not them. So here they are, out in some serious wilderness, right outside their front door.

Slayde writes:
"Here are some pictures from our first couple of weeks here. The first is the view down our street as I walk to work, with Mt. Juneau in the background. The day is characteristically overcast - its rained pretty much every day, and it's COLD.

Next is a wharf where Ben has gone fishing a few times, and a bald eagle that came to visit when someone (unfortunately not Ben) caught a salmon. The eagle came flying in really low - I wish I had been able to get a picture of it as it was swooping in.

Then there is one of Ben and my co-intern fishing off of Douglas Island, which is the island across the Strait from Juneau. They got stranded, as you can see, when the tide came in. We've done a fair amount of fishing (well, mostly Ben has - I just go out and read and stare at things and take pictures), but no salmon yet. We are going to try another fishing spot this weekend.
Then we have a few pictures from our epic hike. I think I told you about this one. We climbed Mt. Juneau (3,500 vertical feet), hiked the Juneau ridge (5-6 miles, maybe, and another 1000 vertical feet), tobogganed down into Glacier Valley on our butts (yay!) and then hiked another 6 miles out, mostly through snow. The whole thing took about eight hours. I should probably have started smaller for my first Juneau hike, and was too preoccupied with how much I hurt to take pictures, but Ben got a few. He was really quite amazing at coaxing me along, considering that I wasn't sure I had it in me for the last three quarters of the hike or so. The first picture is of my backside just as we were about to reach the top.

Then one of some of us plodding up the ridge. The first group picture from the hike was really just a test picture when Ben was setting up the camera, but I attached it because of the incredible color of the little snow lake behind us. It really is that brilliant color. Amazing. Everyone we went with is in incredible shape. They seem to do this sort of thing all year round, and the guy on the left in particular is one speedy hiker. My co worker was telling me he can do the hike in four hours (I think that would have to be at at least a jog), and that he doesn't really have a slower speed. So they all marched on ahead, then waited for Ben and I to catch up periodically."

I don't know about you, but personally I'm impressed as hell. I think I'm doing good to "hike" up to a little waterfall and it takes about 15 minutes to get to it. Huh.