Thursday, August 30, 2007

Another blog

So, my workplace is moving forward. To what year, I don't know, but closer to this one. As such, I now have a work blog, which can be enjoyed here.

I guess now you can find out more about how I think. I suppose, anyway.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Word police

OK, here's another word that needs to be dumped. It is three words, really: improvised explosive device.

No. 1, give me a break. It has way more letters than what it means: roadside bomb.

No. 2, it gives unimaginative bozos an annoying way to talk about any policy they disagree with: "It's improvised, explosive and divisive!"

No. 3, it has that familiar ring of words that hide something, especially when the name is nicked to IED. "The IED went off" just doesn't quite put the same message across as "the bomb went off."

I'm sure there are other reasons, but I think I've found enough.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Is this town the next Napa?

Apparently, someone thinks so, and the flagship publication of the company I work for carries a story to that effect. At one point, a local person makes a reference to "wine-country living" and I can see that some people here do enjoy that kind of lifestyle.

But many others do not, and I think if you spend some time out here, you'll find a lot more bullethole-ridden road signs, beer cans tossed at the side of the road out in the wheat fields and empty storefronts than you might associate with a cutesy tourist trap.

For this I am thankful. My alma mater has spent the years since my commencement doing a disgraceful job of re-landscaping, turning the campus into what one of my pals calls "the entrance to an REI," and I think that if certains powers-that-be had their way, the whole god damn city would be upscale, generic crap.

I'm all for progress, but I will be sorry if my town finishes marginalizing the people who can't afford an $8 hamburger.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Global, local

You know, there's that aphorism people trot out every so often: Think globally, act locally.

I'm tired of that. What is "think globally" supposed to mean, really? And where's local? How about: Think and act like it matters.

Lulu wrote recently about the situation in her flooded country, Bangladesh. She suggests that her readers might consider helping out, maybe be remembering her new land when they're making their charitable contributions, if they have enough left over after helping out at home.

I think Lulu is too accomodating. I also think that if everyone who reads - and comments regularly - on her blog gave $50 or $100 to a relevent charity, say Islamic Relief USA, that would be an easily measurable good that could be accomplished pretty much right now.

Hey, I'm not saying that's what you should do. If you ask me, you should send that $50 or $100 to the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, the Jane Goodall Institute or the Save the Redwoods League.

But I'm certainly not immune to the impassioned pleas of people who care.

More bullshitty baseball writing

USA Today has a sidebar today with the story about Arizona Diamondbacks starter Brandon Webb's 42-inning scoreless streak (which includes three straight shutouts!).

The sidebar is a quick hit on comparisons between Webb and the pitcher he is chasing, Orel Hershiser. Notorious dickhead Tommy Lasorda is quoted as saying he can't bring himself to root for Webb, pretty much because Lasorda bleeds Dodger blue and Hershiser was his guy.

OK, whatever. But Bob Nightengale's sidebar leads with this:
PHOENIX - Los Angeles Dodgers Hall of Fame manager Tom Lasorda admires the man, sees the same marvelous qualities as his own celebrated pitcher but can't bring himself to root for Brandon Webb of the Arizona Diamondbacks to break one of baseball's most cherished records.
Most cherished? What? You mean right up there with the consecutive games played streak and the all-time home run record?

Hey, it is a cool record, but I think shooting for the all-time, single-season mark in shutouts (16) would be a hell of a lot more impressive. We'll just have to wait until hell freezes over for that one.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Art and craft

I rarely think about art, but I *do* art a lot. Or so I think.

Over the weekend, I participated in a local show, dubbed Alley Gallery (a self-proclaimed lowbrow art sale). I also wove 19 yards of cloth, enough for seven wraps of varying sorts. I'm sorry to say the latter was much more lucrative work.

While I was at the show Friday, an artist pal and I chatted about this and that, mostly money, sales and how to get by as an artist. These topics seem to occupy a fair amount of her waking hours. I don't need to make a living as a weaver, but I could if I had to. I'm sure I'd have worries, but one thing I would not worry about is whether people would buy my work.

I think weaving full time would count as being an artist for a living, but my pal hinted that might be up for debate. I know there are divides among craftsmen: Painters and photographers aren't the same animal as weavers, woodworkers, potters and metalsmiths.

And I know that people who show in galleries or do installation art aren't the same as craftsmen (and women, though I've met few craftswomen who see craftsman as a gender-specific term). But I wasn't aware that any of them really thought we (craftsmen) weren't doing art.

On the flip side, I see a lot of art that is done with very poor craftsmanship. If it were my call to make, my alma mater would require studio art majors to take (and pass, god damn it) a course in craftsmanship. I'm not saying you can't have good art without good craftsmanship, but if you're going to sell something, a little professional pride wouldn't hurt.

I guess that's another can of worms, the selling part. I've yet to weave something I think nobody would buy, but I don't think that spoils the items as pieces of art. I think that might be up for debate, too.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Seen on the way to work

If you love Jesus, seek justice. Anybody can honk.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

That's just the way I roll

Radio show in 55 minutes.

Want to listen in? Drop by my alma mater's radio station between 1o p.m. and midnight, Pacific time!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Calm down there, tiger

There's a local guy (probably, you have such a guy, too, or maybe a lady, who knows) who advocates for installing rotaries around town. I think his wish is going to come true soon enough at some local interchange or another.

As for me, I like rotaries and roundabouts. I like using them for their intended purpose, and also driving around them a couple of times once in a while, just for silliness or to annoy passengers. I like that with a rotary, you can have a little park-like area at an intersection instead of traffic lights. Sure, it takes up some space, but so what. (p.s. I'm experimenting here, ending my rhetorical questions with a period. I don't think I like it, but isn't that the way it goes.)

Mostly, I like rotaries and roundabouts because they usually make for smooth traffic flow. I have been stuck in traffic a couple of times approaching the roundabout near the liquor store off Interstate 95 in Portsmouth, N.H., but those incidents were not the norm, and I could usually sneak around most of the traffic at the circle just by taking the initiative.

I also like cobblestones, but maybe that's a topic for another day.

Toyota Prius

While in the Bay Area over the weekend for my older/little sister's wedding, I had a double surprise at the car rental agency.

I reserved an economy car, which I always do, but unlike most every other rental, I actually received an economy car, too. I usually get a "complimentary" upgrade to some piece of junk I don't want, like a mid-size Pontiac or some other gas-guzzling, boring, can-only-do-a-U-turn-in-an-open-field pile of crap.

Plus, I got a Prius, which is a new one for me. The push-button start and electric motor took a little getting used to, but after about, oh, the second time I turned it on, everything was cool. The Prius is a surprisingly fun car to drive: peppy, roomy and ergonomically sensible. The easy-to-read display that shows fuel level, odometer, speedometer, etc., is like a heads-up-display, but just below the windshield.

The only quibble I have is that - possibly down to me - the car didn't run through the same startup routine each time I turned it on, and twice had to be restarted. In a car without a normal arrangement of parts, that's a little unsettling.

I'd think seriously about buying one, which is more than I can say for almost any car I have ever rented. Almost is because I got to drive a Fiat Punto all over Tunisia a few years ago, and I loved it! So, I'll take a Prius and a Punto.

And a Mustang, too. Why not.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Still wicked busy

I thought summers were for relaxing, but this one is not.

The shuttle has been a-flyin' for weeks now, and I put on a new (60-yard) warp over the weekend. I keep alleging that I'll post a photo or six from this venture, but I will need to bend the space-time continuum to add time to my days in order to do that.

But I *can* talk out of both sides of my mouth: I have "discovered" that a perfectly serviceable margarita can be made with mostly non-official ingredients:

Tequila - about a third of one of those little flask-y bottles
Juice of two lemons
A slightly greater amount of key lime juice
Three heaping tablespoons of powdered sugar
About three quarters of a tray of ice cubes
A few dashes of bitters

Blend the lot and serve as you like. (This is enough to share, right?) I think this would be a poor recipe for a rocks 'rita.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A list of games

Games owned by me:

Super Scrabble
Scrabble (auf Deutsch)
Boggle (Newfy loves this one - so soothing for her nerves)
Cribbage (for that matter, cards)
Mah jong
The Farming Game (like Monopoly, but much better)
Abalone (the butterfly lady's favorite, for sure)
A few hundred old-school video games, but those are on the computer

I'm probably missing something here...