It’s in my ears and in my eyes

Yesterday I was driving home and since it was nearing 5 on Friday afternoon I decided to take surface streets. So I went driving down SE Stark, all the way from the railroad tracks down in the industrial area all the way over Mt Tabor and across 82nd to my house.

I had my iPhone plugged in to my stereo (as you do) and I was playing music on shuffle, driving through southeast Portland on a beautiful summer day. Not too hot, nice breeze, exactly the kind of day that reminds me why I like it here. PRECISELY the kind of day I file away for when I hear a weatherman say it’s going to be day thirty two of consecutive rainy days.

So I’m driving down Stark and cross 39th, driving through a nice little neighborhood and as the road starts uphill to go over Tabor, Penny Lane comes on. A nice little description of a nice little place. It totally fit, and it felt like maybe John and Paul had actually been where I was.

I have these moments every so often, where it’s like something goes off in my head and tells me this is a memory happening here and if I know what’s good for me I’ll pay attention. So I drove along Stark, looking at the trees (which still have all their leaves), enjoying the sun, and generally doing what I could to preserve that memory in my mind.

I know every time I hear Penny Lane from now on, it will remind me of southeast Portland on a beautiful summer day.

Lost Liveblog S06E15 – Across The Sea

I watch Lost and this season as one of the Delta Park Project’s research interns I figured it would be helpful to liveblog my thoughts. First off the episode description from TiVo: Locke’s motives are finally explained.

So here goes! I scribble these as I watch so I claim no coherency. It wouldn’t even make sense to anyone who doesn’t watch the show already and yeah, if you haven’t seen this episode, Thar Be Spoilers Ahead. Yarr.

Also: More Losty fun from all the interns at the Intern Blog

Read More »

Lost Liveblog S06E11 – Happily Ever After

I watch Lost and this season as one of the Delta Park Project’s research interns I figured it would be helpful to liveblog my thoughts. First off the episode description from TiVo: Desmond wakes up and realizes he is back on the island.

So here goes! I scribble these as I watch so I claim no coherency. It wouldn’t even make sense to anyone who doesn’t watch the show already and yeah, if you haven’t seen this episode, Thar Be Spoilers Ahead. Yarr.

Also: More Losty fun from all the interns at the Intern Blog

Read More »

testing, testing, 1 2 3…

I am testing on an iPad. This is super duper fun. I like this a lot more than I thought I would. This pleases me greatly. I really didn’t think I would be excited about an iPad. No really! I just thought it would be fun to play with. But the more time I spend with it the harder it will be to let go.

When I first saw the iPad presentation my first thought was “OMG WordCamp” and every other place I have been that was an all day thing, or even just enough of the day that it took longer than my laptop battery. I am really excited about this, I can see where this is something that could really make a huge difference in computing. I don’t want to be all hyperbolic about it, but really. This is such a big deal. I just don’t know how I can wait for my own. Argh!!

And yes, I typed this entire thing on an iPad. It was a pretty nice experience actually. I am trying SO hard right now not to be excited and everything but I am having a very hard time with that. I have itty bitty girl hands, I know, but this is still really fun. I like this a lot. Seriously I ADORE technology and I see a lot of it and even still this is exciting to me. I have to keep reminding myself there is a whole computer in here. It really is amazing.

drafts and not drafts.

I am going to save this as a local, then as a draft. Here is my ‘save as draft’ change. Woo!

Dust and Digging

Hey kids! Didja miss me? I know, I’m working on it. But because I know PRECISELY enough about WordPress backend mucking about to get it really wrong, but then stop before I make it much much worse, I’m slowly restoring. So instead of the little digging guy or something about pardoning my dust, I’ll just say if you are a WP backend ninja, catch me on the Twitters, will you? Or better yet, if you’re local, catch me at Beer and Blog tomorrow and see if you can hook a girl up. Thanks.

Letters! She writes letters!

She writes stacks and stacks of letters!

I hope the Letterman reference amused the old-school late-nighters among you. Anyway!

I think the Patriot Act is sort of lame and while well intentioned, really poorly executed. So now that it’s up for renewal (a process not without contention, I might add), there’s some discussion in Congress and because I’m on the Congress.org mailing list, I get a link in my email that I click and fill in what I want to tell them. #Seriously, it is THAT easy. So I went and filled it in. Like this:

Please do not allow the Patriot Act to continue in the current form.
Wiretapping has not made me safer. No plot has been foiled because the
government could, on a whim, listen to me tell my husband what’s for
dinner. None of what was instituted in the name of my safety has made me
more secure. In fact, this Act has only helped advance the cause of
terrorists who hate the very freedoms that set the United States apart. By
damaging or eliminating entirely some of the liberties afforded me as a
citizen of the United States of America, this Act has done more to further
the aims of terrorists than any of the plots it is allegedly protecting me
from.

That little paragraph went to all my representatives in Washington. It is THAT easy to get involved. I’ll outline that more later, but really since I am on such a hot streak of posting letters I write to people, I thought I’d add one more.

Patriot Day? Really?

It hasn’t been today all that long, but it is September Eleventh or Nine/Eleven or Nine One One or whatever it is you wish to call it. Some have referred to it as Patriot Day. This really REALLY bothers me. I’ve been thinking about it off and on since last weekend when I turned a calendar over to September and saw it on the page. I think I figured out what bugs me:

Other holidays which celebrate people are a bit specific: Presidents Day, for example, (I know it as Presidents Day, others specifically celebrate it as Washington’s Birthday) is a holiday meant to honor a President (and as Presidents Day, a second one as well). Presidents are a select group of people. Veteran’s Day is meant to celebrate Veterans, those who have served this country. Again, a specific and clearly defined group. Martin Luther King Day celebrates one specific person, Memorial Day is meant for remembering those who died in service to our country. All of these are very clear cut groups of people who are celebrated or honored for something they have done.

And somehow tomorrow is Patriot Day.

I went and looked up ‘patriot’ so I could see for certain what it meant. Merriam and Webster say: one who loves his or her country and supports its authority and interests. Can someone explain to me how people dying in collapsing buildings makes them patriots? I mean, I have no issue with honoring and remember people who died that day, that isn’t my problem. My problem is that someone dying doesn’t automatically make them a patriot. By that token, if I love and support America, I can’t be a patriot because I’m still alive. I find this disturbing. People who went out of their way to do something (be President, serve their country) are being honored for having done so. People who happened to be in a particular place at a particularly unfortunate time are being honored for it. They did not go out of their way to join the Army or win an election. A lot of people died at Pearl Harbor just for being on those ships, much like the people in those towers died just for being there. We do not honor them, Americans blown up by someone from another country with an axe to grind. We do not honor those who died in another building that happened to get bombed: in Oklahoma City. They died just for going to work too. We do not honor those who died in a plane crash where nobody survived (there are many, pick one). What makes these people different? Special?

Perhaps this would not alarm me so if it weren’t for the fact that the word “patriot” is now supercharged with political meaning and used as a club to beat people into toeing a line.

I want to honor these people, and it is tragic what happened to them. Their families have to get up every day and go on without those people. Honoring them is important. So lay off the politics and the agendas and the hidden meanings and the partisanship. Let’s leave patriotism out of it and show a little respect.

Common Courtesy: No Longer Common

Honestly. If you haven’t heard yet, the guy running things here in the States just gave a speech on health care insurance reform. He used this opportunity (addressing a joint session of Congress) to clear up some misunderstandings and outright lies that have been told about what sorts of things he wants passed as part of a comprehensive health care insurance reform bill. One of them was the assertion that people who are in the US illegally will be covered. Obama stood at the podium and said that was not true. As he was saying so, Congressman Joe Wilson (R, South Carolina) yelled “LIE!” at him.

Let me restate that.

President Obama, leader of the free world, was HECKLED. In his own country. By, in essence, someone from a different department in the same company. Wanna see? Brace yourself.

I also enjoyed this analysis on DailyKos.

Say what you will about President Obama. He was elected fair and square (unlike the last guy, this was a clear cut victory). In fact, I encourage people to say what they will. It’s what makes this country great. And the same thing I keep saying holds true here: When situations were reversed, this wasn’t how the last guy got treated. For the record, the last guy actually DID address a joint session of Congress and lie. But since he was THE PRESIDENT he was shown a modicum of respect and people were quiet.

In the entire speech, there were points where Obama would say something and people would stand up and clap. Not everyone in the chamber. Some of them stayed seated and some didn’t even clap. I don’t mean things that were obviously democratic, I mean things like this:

…that concern and regard for the plight of others – is not a partisan feeling. It is not a Republican or a Democratic feeling. It, too, is part of the American character. Our ability to stand in other people’s shoes. A recognition that we are all in this together; that when fortune turns against one of us, others are there to lend a helping hand. A belief that in this country, hard work and responsibility should be rewarded by some measure of security and fair play; and an acknowledgement that sometimes government has to step in to help deliver on that promise.

and this:

That’s not what we came here to do. We did not come to fear the future. We came here to shape it. I still believe we can act even when it’s hard. I still believe we can replace acrimony with civility, and gridlock with progress. I still believe we can do great things, and that here and now we will meet history’s test.

Got NO applause from Republicans. Which clearly means that something I was thinking before and used to kid about is actually true: Republicans only care about people UNTIL they are born. After that you’re on your own. Come back when you’ve amasssed enough zeroes and we’ll talk.

Again, say what you will about Obama or his policies or his birthplace or whatever you want. Feel free to disagree. But if you can’t do so in a CIVIL fashion, you are not allowed to be part of the debate.

Or, bluntly: You know that hole you put pie in? Shut it. Grownups are talking.

Playlist: Memorial CD

We had a reception after the actual service for Gramma The Scoot last Tuesday. I built a slideshow of various photos of her, and I also whipped up a CD of music for afterwards to just play on shuffle. What I put on that CD is listed below. She was a fan of country and liked some nice gospel music, so it was mostly that vibe with a little bit of what The Scoot, Sister The Scoot, and I wanted to make sure got played. So here’s the list with links added. Amazon is where you can hear a sample or buy it, and Blip.FM will play the whole thing.

01. Lean On Me – Al Green – Greatest Gospel Hits (Not available on Amazon, Blip.FM)
02. Into The West – Annie Lennox – The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King (Amazon, Blip.FM)
03. You and Your Folks/23rd Psalm – Blind Boys of Alabama – Higher Ground (Amazon, Blip.FM)
04. Sweet By And By – The Statler Brothers – Good Old Country Gospel (Amazon, Blip.FM)
05. Bridge Over Troubled Water – Johnny Cash – American IV: The Man Comes Around (Amazon, Blip.FM)
06. Kneel At The Cross – Charlie Daniels Band – Amazing Grace: A Country Salute to Gospel (Amazon, Blip.FM)
07. Jesus Is Love – Commodores – Commodores: Gold (Amazon, Blip.FM)
08. Motherless Child – Hootie & The Blowfish – Cracked Rear View (Amazon, Blip.FM)
09. Somewhere Over The Rainbow – Israel Kamamawiwo’ole – Facing Future (Amazon, Blip.FM)
10. Smile – Jermaine Jackson – From Michael Jackson’s Memorial (Not for sale on Amazon, Blip)
11. Danny Boy – Johnny Cash – American IV: The Man Comes Around (Amazon, Blip.FM)
12. Amazing Grace – Al Green – Greatest Gospel Hits (Another not on Amazon, Blip.FM)
13. The Old Rugged Cross – The Statler Brothers – Gospel Favorites (Amazon, Blip.FM)
14. I’ll Fly Away – Kanye West – The College Dropout (Amazon, Blip.FM)
15. Ave Maria – Stevie Wonder – A Motown Christmas (Amazon, Blip.FM)
16. Peace In The Valley (With The Carter Family) – Johnny Cash – Just As I Am (Amazon, Blip.FM)
17. Go Rest High On That Mountain – Vince Gill – When Love Finds You (Amazon, Blip.FM)
18. Jesus Loves Me – Whitney Houston – The Bodyguard (Amazon, Blip.FM)
19. Love Rescue Me – U2 – Rattle And Hum (Amazon, Blip.FM)

Yeah, I wrote another letter…

I filled this in at the Media Matters website. They are a media watchdog organization. I like them because they are equal opportunity: They call shenanigans when there are shenanigans, whether it’s a left winger or right winger, and I like that. One of their current actions is trying to keep CNN’s Lou Dobbs from broadcasting his show from an annual conference being held by an actively anti-immigration group. More info from them here. I found it interesting and I wrote a letter to CNN to try to help. Here is what I said:

I am writing to express my concerns about Lou Dobbs being scheduled to broadcast the “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” conference. They are considered a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and it concerns me that someone from CNN would be part of an event held by this organization. Lou Dobbs broadcasting from this event lends this group a certain measure of unwarranted credibility. Would you be happy to broadcast The Situation Room from a Ku Klux Klan event? Would you expend the resources to send 360 to the Westboro Baptist Church Labor Day picnic? I hope the answer is “Of course not”, and I wish the answer to sending Lou Dobbs to this sort of conference was the same. Please stop this from happening.

Going, Going…: Gramma Edition

She isn’t quite gone yet, so I couldn’t bring myself to put it in the headline. And this is isn’t so much about her as it is about you, dear reader. Yes, you. As a reader of my blog, apparently that makes you a social media type, and this is a story about social media.

My sweetie, The Scoot (as he is generally known on my blog), has a gramma, and she hasn’t been doing well. She was diagnosed with cancer and moved into his mom’s house earlier this year. Of late her condition has been declining, and she was in the hospital for awhile and now is in what the brochure describes as an end-of-life facility in Beaverton. Yesterday afternoon about 2pm I got a call that NOW is not the end, but you can probably see it from here. So I hopped in the car and hauled off to Beaverton. It was looking like I’d need to head back home before anyone else did, so to find out the best time to go, I asked Twitter and was told don’t bother till at least 6:30 or even 7. So I figured I was there for the evening and told Twitter that too. Here’s what happened*:

@kmcdade said “Oh, man. I’m so sorry.”
@ahockley said “I know it’s been hard lately. Sending positive thoughts towards you and your family.”
@drnormal said “Our thoughts are with you. <<hugs>>”
@turoczy said “Hang in there. Thinking of you.
@DeborahBeatty said “my thoughts are with you both.”
@mlpayne said “It is tough to watch a grandparent near the end. Praying for you guys!”
@chavtasticjinx said “*hug* to both of you”
@richburroughs said “:( Sorry Kelly, take care.”
@linuxaid said “hope all goes as well as it can tonight.”
@MeaganKate said “Sending good thoughts!”
@lawduck said “RT @MeaganKate: @verso Sending good thoughts! +1 – Big hugs.”
@chickieleighc said “You guys are in my heart tonight!”
@morganpdx said “<hugs>.  And then again.”
@jimdittmer said “I believe we’re all with you now…”
@kidmanproject said “Oh, Kelly, I’m so sorry to hear that. My best wishes to you all.”
@gwalter said “I’m sorry to hear about @pdxscott’s gramma. They are so precious to us.”
@dougcoleman said “@colemangirl & I send our *big hugs* and *positive vibes* your way.”
@yuetsu said “I’ve been through this with my mom, my dad & close friends. never easy. but good you’re there for her.
@Locket2You said “I’ll be thinking of you and your family tonight….”
@aaronjorbin said “I hope everything works out for the best #fingerscrossedforyou”
@QueenOChaos said “just read through; sorry to see whats happening. will keep you guys in my prayers.”
@KatrinaWheeler said “sorry to hear. Losing grandparents is really hard.”
@kathymcc said “I am so sorry.”
@ama23 said “So sorry to you all Kelly. Thoughts with you.”
@DixwellStillman said “Dixwell Stillman hopes @verso is doing OK. Best wishes to you and @pdxscott.”

These people listed above include: A County Commissioner’s wife, a jewelry designer, a contributor to ReadWriteWeb, former coworkers, friends, and a whole stack of people whom I have never even met. But because I have followed them on Twitter and interacted with them on Twitter, I got messages of support and love. And some of those people are in England, the eastern US, and I even got a hug sent via text from a friend in Sydney Australia, so I got love from all over the world. 140 characters at a time.

I know some people would find this weird, and I know some people already do think it’s odd or crazy or whatever. But last night when I was sitting in a room with a dying woman and a bunch of in-laws and waiting, I reached out to my own community and got back an astonishing amount of love and care. I just read a blog post written by another of my Twitter friends, and to put it in those terms: Last night Twitter was my baking soda. And it didn’t take any of those people very long at all to send me those little notes, but since they were thinking of me for just those couple of minutes, I was very touched. Even recounting it now, I’m going to need you to look over there for a minute. I have something in my eye.

* This is an exercise in concentration on something good that happened in the midst of an awful lot of bad and sad. I am only doing this to help cheer myself up. Thank you for reading all the way to the little tiny text at the end.

Twitter + Mac Clients != Crazy Delicious

I’ve said this on Twitter and it remains true: There is one glaring thing wrong with every single Mac desktop client I have tried. Yes, ALL of them. I realize I could be alone in this, I looked for a stat and found that as of June 2009 the average Twitter user has 126 followers (this minute I’m at 2,416 following me, and I follow 1,413 as of today.) and of all Twitter traffic 80% is from the API (meaning programs that post to Twitter, not the website itself.) I keep trying apps and finding flaws and making do. I kept threatening to blog this so here goes: I’m going to list my problem with each of these apps. Usual disclaimers apply: Kelly is the exception, Kelly is not the rule, your mileage may vary, close cover before striking, do not fold, bend, spindle, or mutilate, not to be rebroadcast without the written permission of Major League Baseball.

Here is the list:

Twitterrific from the Iconfactory. I am a super Iconfactory fangirl. I love them love them love them. They were one of the first with a desktop client and I bought it after about 10 minutes of use. It squishes up really small, doesn’t spend a lot of UI on fancy junk I don’t need, has awesome keyboard commands, and just works. I also use Twitterrific on my iPhone and adore that too. This is what I want to be my first choice, and it is about half the time. But it’s lacking.
FLAW: While I like that it caches some of my recent replies and DMs, it does so at the bottom of the stream when I launch the app. After seeing how iPhone apps and other Mac clients do it, I want separate panes for replies and DMs, it’s easier to keep track and make sure I’m not missing anything. (I also have zero user management within the app: If I want info on someone I have to view the web page and do everything that way.)

Nambu. Nice layout, has a little “info” pane to show multiple accounts, mentions, DMs, all the stuff I want.
FLAW: There are “read” and “unread” tweets, and in the zeal to mark things read or unread I end up lost and overwhelmed SUPER fast. If new tweets load, it doesn’t save my place, and (if the option is checked,) simply scrolling marks things read so if I bounce back and forth to find my place I can’t rely on the indicators to show where I left off. If I turn off the scrolling = mark as read option, I still can’t find my place and now I have to select every single tweet as I go by so it’s marked as read.

Tweetdeck. This is the one most of the “power users” I know are running. They adore it. I went up a wall trying to figure it out. It’s also an app that runs on Adobe Air, so if you want to run this you have to install that first.
FLAW: Updates. After you install and launch it, Tweetdeck thinks you have no followers until they tweet. Eventually it learns who they all are. EVENTUALLY. I ran it for more than a week and it still wasn’t finding everyone. Even after they had updated a couple of times. I wanted to use the groups and the filtering but I lost my patience and ditched it when the easiest things I wanted to do (reply, dm, look up users) were hard to find and do.

Seesmic Desktop. Another Air application. I wanted to like this one too. Nice info pane, multiple accounts, etc.
FLAW: Conversation fail. If I want to retweet someone, reply to someone, or send them a DM I have to mouse over their user icon in a tweet, click the right one of the four options that pops up, and then try to actually do what I want to do. Icons aren’t clear, and I’m on a 13″ screen so my resolution is up as high as I can get it. I need all that room and making me pick a tiny little icon is aggravating. Since I can’t find any keyboard commands there’s no way around this.
BONUS: This sounds dumb but the scroll is super herkyjerky because it scrolls one tweet at a time, you can’t leave it “between” tweets at the top of the screen. And the readability issues with Nambu are similar here: No preservation of where I left off and new updates shift my position so I can’t keep track easily.

Tweetie:Mac. This is the one I’m currently using about half of the time (I alternate between this and Twitterrific), even though the flaw drives me nuts. User info and management is nice, reply and DM panes exist, along with search. Keyboard commands are handy.
FLAW: Reply and DM panes are FULLY threaded. Meaning if I have four replies, and I go to the oldest one and answer that, my reply makes it the newest in my list even though the incoming message (the part I care about) is the oldest one. WAY frustrating.

So there’s my complaints. If I’m wrong on this stuff or missing a preference or something PLEASE let me know! Or you know, if you are at the Iconfactory and want me to beta test your new glorious Mac version, let me know. I’d LOVE to have a client I can tell the whole word to go get.

Health Care Debate: Doing It Wrong

OK, here I go with more politics. Just so you’re warned.

Also: If you’re here to validate your own health care reform opinions or you just want to tear me down for mine, I’m sorry, that’s not gonna happen.

I do believe the cost of health care is out of control, and whether there’s a public plan or not, regardless of what comes from Congress this is an issue that warrants discussion. I went to see what Webster’s said was the definition of discussion, and they say:

1 : consideration of a question in open and usually informal debate
2 : a formal treatment of a topic in speech or writing

I say that seems about right. However, just to be clear, I looked up the word debate, and that definition was discussion, so I looked up discussion and got:

Discuss implies a sifting of possibilities especially by presenting considerations pro and con (discussed the need for a new highway)

See? Presenting considerations pro and con. Nowhere in any of these definitions did I find the following phrases:
Yell inflammatory comments to bring debate to a halt
Scream your fool head off as soon as someone speaks civilly
Invoke Godwin’s Law for attention only
Contribute nothing but decibels

So if you are against the contents of the bills Congress is considering, that’s fine. I am interested in what it is THOSE BILLS ACTUALLY SAY that you disagree with. If you can’t quote me the bill and can only quote me what you heard on the TV, well, I’m not interested. Same goes for “saw it on Facebook” and “I got an email…” and “JimBob down at the truck stop says..” and any other place you saw/heard/read something and are now all worked up. I’m happy to engage in conversation and debate with anyone (even you!) as long as your stance is thoughtful and based in reality.

At first I was excited about Town Halls and people wanting to go and be involved in the process (you know, “Yes We Can” and all of that). Then I found out there were people going for the sake of halting the process, not for the sake of learning or CIVIL discourse, just going to gum up the works.

If I had my way I would ask one question of the people going to Town Hall meetings and screeching about the end of America, and that question is:

Where were you before?

I want to know why it is terrible NOW that government is addressing an issue that needs to be addressed. Why weren’t you screaming bloody murder over tax cuts that contributed to the economic mess (which caused people to lose jobs and therefore health insurance)? Why wasn’t it so bad that under the previous administration, government spending continually went up disproportionately to the rest of the US economy? Now that we have an administration who is interested in what America has to say you are complaining about the opportunity? Why wasn’t that a tragedy when the last guy ignored every statistic that said “America thinks you’re doing it wrong”?

I admit the answer to my question scares me a little. But I really do want to hear it.

(EDITED TO ADD: My friend PAgent whipped up a comic strip on this very issue. hee hee hee!)

Sweet Pea

My family is…interesting. I have cattle rustlers even a city named after a family member on a couple of branches of my tree. Anyway, I’m not sure where it started, but my dad’s dad (Pappy, no really, Pappy) always had a name for you if he liked you, especially if you were family. It sometimes makes it hard to keep up with a conversation if you’re not on the inside, hearing Jimmy Crow and Ricochet Rabbit this, and Cly Cly and The Redhead that.

Well both of Pappy’s kids have picked up this habit, one of them being my Aunt Sharon. (For those playing along at home, that makes the other one my dad.) A note about her: Aunt Sharon was awesome. She let me ride her big dogs when I was small, and her horses when I was less small, and she let me eat Pop-Tarts and she got me a Speak N Spell to play with when I was visiting her. Every year for Christmas she got us gifts we got to open early: Christmas ornaments! She had curly hair like me, and a gap between her front teeth like me, and I always thought somehow my parents knew that would happen when they gave me her middle name, so we’d always be (what I like to call) extra-related. Now back to the story.

Aunt Sharon called her husband (whose name is Dean) Ralph, for reasons I never had explained to me. I just went with it. She called almost everyone something. And by “called them something” I really mean addressed cards to you, wrote it on gift tags, all that kind of stuff. It was like you checked your “outside” name at the door and the rest of the time you were the name she had given you.

She called me Sweet Pea. Like the baby in the Popeye cartoons.

“But Kelly”, you say, “what do you mean callED you Sweet Pea?”

She passed away a few years ago. She had cancer she was not able to beat the second time around. She was so full of life when she was alive and driving around in her green Corvette with the yellow pinstripe and the little Minnie Mouse near the back window, it was hard to lose her. And hard to lose my nickname too.

Then a couple of years ago I got to know someone I wrote on a group blog with. She was fun and smart and all around cool.

Once after being at her house I was leaving and she gave me a hug and said “Goodbye, sweet pea. See you later.” It was back! And from a completely other random source who didn’t know this story!

That’s how I knew this was someone I was destined to be friends with.

It’s not like she has officially dubbed me “Sweet Pea”, either. Sometimes it’s “Sweetie”, sometimes it’s just Kelly. But every so often it’s like I get a little happy reminder of someone I love, and I get the same sort of warm fuzzy feeling I get from an unexpected hug or other act of kindness.

She doesn’t know this story. (Well she does now.) And I hope she enjoys hearing the story half as much as I enjoy hearing my “name”.

Well it made ME think anyway.

I have recently discovered the joys of the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (thanks insomnia!), and I saw Monday night’s episode where he was given a gift of an American flag that flew over the Capitol last September (Craig became a US Citizen last September). Along with the flag came a short note. Here it is:

Dear Mr Ferguson,

Please accept this gift from myself and the people of Ohio. I cannot express how proud I am of you and the many others who chose to be United States citizens. So many Americans, especially in the current state of the world, take being an American for granted. You however, help all of us to remember how great this country is. You are a true patriot.

Best wishes, and thank you, because it IS a great day for America.

JT Aguila

I think this is something to stop and think about. It’s a nice sentiment. I like that it is straightforward but not the zealotry that’s so lately been associated with being patriotic (coughlast8yearscough). A lovely change.

It’s public record anyway…

…so here’s the letter I wrote to all the members of Portland’s City Council who voted unanimously to rename SE 39th Ave to Cesar Chavez Blvd.

Commissioners:

I am disappointed you did not take the wishes of the residents of 39th Avenue into account when you voted yes. Why not a compromise on a new building someplace? Or the new Interstate Bridge? And on more practical matters, renaming streets isn’t cheap for anyone, so in an environment already not conducive to small businesses you are making it more expensive for those on 39th now that they have change their address or move away, and I’m willing to bet some of those businesses will leave Portland altogether.

I am not opposed to a tribute to Cesar Chavez, I am more than happy for something in tribute to him to exist in Portland. But why not a Farmer’s Market? Or a school? Because the committee who wanted a street said they’d get one by hook or by crook? They put enough money into their campaign to get attention? After enough unsuccessful tries they had finally pestered this into being?

As a child in rural Oregon, I went to Sam Boardman Elementary School. As a result I spent a bit of time each year learning about Sam Boardman. He was the first State Parks Superintendent, and he did a lot to preserve parts of Oregon by turning them into parks. That is more than I was ever taught about Cesar Chavez, and I lived in a part of Oregon where as a white person I was a minority in my high school for about half the school year as a result of the influx of students due to migrant seasonal workers.

I use 39th Avenue. One of the fundamental ways I was able to find my way around Portland when I first moved to Portland (I lived on SE 36th) was to use the existing grid system that included numbered streets such as 39th. That ease of navigation is diminished when that navigation now has to come with an exception. There are a lot of other ways honoring Cesar Chavez could have been handled that would have made a lot more Portlanders happy. I also don’t appreciate that the process to get a street renamed never takes the wishes of that street’s residents into account. I find it shameful that in a representative democracy, those representatives are clearly not voting according to the wishes of those they represent.

And I will be frank here: Right now the Council doesn’t need another black mark. Between the recall in the works for our Mayor, a contentious Major League Soccer bid, and a new baseball stadium, there is a lot of money being spent or being committed to be spent. And yet in my neighborhood entire blocks are nothing but potholes held together with pavement and there wasn’t enough money to keep a police precinct open in southeast Portland.

I know that this is only one person’s opinion and you have made it abundantly clear you are not interested in one opinion let alone the opinions of many many people, but since I already contacted the Council with my stance on this I felt it necessary to follow up and let you know how disappointed I am in this decision. There are better ways to honor Cesar Chavez. I wish the City Council was more concerned about doing what their constituency wants them to and less concerned with what “looks good” for Portland.

Sincerely,
Miss Kelly
Southeast Portland

Book Report: Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher by Bruce Coville

I have a friend who has a daughter. I adore them both. We were discussing books we’d read recently and I mentioned that I hadn’t spent a lot of time reading for fun lately, it’s all been the MySQL book I’m working through and researching this or that and what it comes down to is not a lot of “fun” reading. I like to read, and I have been known to devour books from time to time (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire took one day), and I like to read all kinds of stuff. So my friend’s daughter K said she had a great book for me to read. (It should surprise precisely no one that K and I have quite a bit in common. She is seven.) She brings me Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher by Bruce Coville. Then her mom says they read it every night before bed and even she was excited to see what happened next. It got rave reviews from the whole house so after I promised to take very good care of this book, K let me borrow it.

It was great! I remembered a lot of being a sixth grader while I was reading (my sixth grade year had, sadly, 100% less dragons than this book did though) and only a couple of times did I think “Wow, how’s that going to turn out?” and every time I thought that, whatever it was got neatly tied up at before the end.

I read the note from the author at the end, and he said he wanted to write a series of books about the magic shop he wished he had stumbled across when he was a kid. So far this is the only one of this series I’ve read, and I can easily see a book about at least two other characters in this book alone. Sadly, it was reported to me the other Magic Shop books aren’t as interesting, but since it didn’t take me very long to read this one, I think I’ll try my hand at one or two more and see how they are.

Now I have to return this book to K. I see why she was nervous about loaning it out, she was probably worried she wouldn’t get it back! So thank you very much K, and thank you to your mom for convincing me this was a book I would enjoy. I should have guessed you would be totally correct. (:

No more CubeSpace: Now what?

So what do we do, tech community in Portland? With our Beer and our Blogs and our Camps and our Conferences, how do we work this out?

First and foremost, in my last post it was mentioned that CubeSpace, a Portland hub of community, will be closing at the end of this week. Since they will be no more, we need to do something not to lose them. What is it? I have a few ideas, and I will edit and update this post as needed. Reminder: This is not a place for talking about what could have been done differently or for passing messages on to CubeSpace. We are only looking to move forward and not lose the amazing community that CubeSpace was an integral part of building.

Sad news indeed:

(See my next post for more on this.)

From: CubeSpace
Subject: It’s End of CubeSpace as We Know It….

Friends,

It is with deep sadness that Eva and I announce that CubeSpace will be closing its doors on Friday, June 12, 2009. During the past two weeks of negotiations, we have very much appreciated the support from all of you. Yet when it came down to it, we realized that even though business has been up and the outpouring of support from the community has been so great, we do not have the resources to keep CubeSpace open.

For roughly three years, Eva and I have poured ourselves into CubeSpace. We have poured in all of our financial resources, and have never taken any salary. We have poured the vast majority of our energy into CubeSpace. We have poured most of our attention into CubeSpace. Now, we have no more to put in. We are tired and broke, and it is now time for us to move on.

We do not consider CubeSpace a failure. Rather, we succeeded in fostering a meaningful community that supports each other in hard times and celebrates together in good times. We feel privileged to have been a part of this community, and look forward to participating in other ways in the years to come.

Many of you have asked what you can do to help. Eva and I have been unable to answer, until now. What we need now are jobs. We have mountains of debt, no assets, and are facing the possibility of personal bankruptcy.

Another piece of help is not for us, but for the community. We know that the closing of CubeSpace will have a negative impact on the community. CubeSpace has served as a central meeting place. It has served as a clubhouse. It has been a default place to hold community events. We now need others in the community to step up and offer up meeting places. Eva and I will continue to contribute our time and energy to community events, but we will no longer be able to contribute the space. It may take some creative thinking, but I believe that as a community we will survive and continue to join together at events if other members of the corporate community will step up to offer space to host the many events CubeSpace has been hosting.

Finally, please be aware that Eva and I need your emotional support as we go through this tough period. As I said in the beginning, we are very tired, emotionally drained and sad. Please do not tell us what we might have done better. Trust us, we know far too well all the mistakes we’ve made. Now is not when we want to rehash them. We welcome your support, your friendship and your caring. We would love suggestions for our future. But right now, we aren’t in a good position to be second-guessing past decisions.

Thank you all so much for being a part of our lives these past years,

David and Eva


CubeSpace
622 SE Grand Ave.
Portland, OR 97214
info@CubeSpacePDX.com
www.CubeSpacePDX.com
503-206-3500 – voice
503-206-3302 – fax