Friday, December 18, 2015

This Blog Is Not Immune To Market Forces

Can't fight the feelin' -- eventually we will gain cultural literacy and see the movie.

Feels good to have intergalactic stoke proclaimed, if only in my imagination.


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Yes, We Are Still Finding #TWD A Fine Family Show

No need to wonder, this scene is repeated throughout each season -- the producers have something of a fetish for RVs.
We, as a family, have undertaken the regime yet again of contemplating what life might be like in a brutal zombie world of monsters and crazed southerners, dilapidated RVs, and squinty-eyed rouge lawmen with PTSD.

The walking dead apocalypse, an inverted world where those that previously had the worst coping skills now have the best, has once again re-animated our family to watch the current season. Again we root for the laconic Daryl Dixon to wreak tight-lipped vengeance on anything and everything in his path in a frothy, self-righteous fury, punctuated by crossbow bolts and poorly tuned motorcycles.

I give credit to the writers, for this season is not about armaments and battles, but the psychological struggle of who has the will to do what is necessary to survive.

The issue is that we, as viewers, have been through so many moments of watching the survivors battle other evil survivors or being inundated by zombies that the thrill of it all is starting to wear out. Also, the device of characters going into a fugue state and doing radically stupid things is also becoming trite. But I am a survivor of this show, and I will do what it takes to finish watching this season.

So we're left with the struggle between those who choose the optimism of trying to re-organize society and chaos. Chaos certainly moves the plot along quicker, but, as we are Americans, we demand that the good, democratic people triumph over the mob.

We will keep watching, but with the caveat that if the dramatic moments of the series turn from epic battles to the equivalent of snitty student council meetings, we will find other entertainment.


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Kids May Still Achieve Something Somehow Even If They Don't Clean Rooms

Whoever this may be, having a clean desk does not impact productivity.
My friend does not have a clean desk, yet somehow he is able to get things done. How? I have no idea -- black magic is as good an explanation as anything.

I am both celebrated and mocked, mostly by myself, for being nutty about clean working environments. I try to limit the distraction, giving myself the best fighting chance of seeing what it is I am supposed to do.

I've heard someone trained in psychiatry say that people generally crave order -- but I suspect this person read the emotional need in my appearance, one that said I needed validation for my eccentricities.

I accept myself for who I am. And yes, I did arrange some pens and notepads before writing this.


Monday, December 14, 2015

Hanging Out Doing Nothing

Always something to do -- like start practicing with a new camera. Stay tuned for more action videos.


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Portland Orange Walk Excellent Family Activity

The photo doesn't do justice to the several hundred gathered in the rain.
The four of us donned orange caps and headed out into a stormy Oregon afternoon for a moment of family political activism.

The kids had never seen the mayor or the governor before, and were moved by the testimonies of personal loss due to gun violence. The feeling that we were part of a significant social/political movement was present.

 I understand the complexities of our political system, which is to say that despair comes easy. But it does a heart good to just be in the presence of several hundred people who believe the way you do.

I am happy we sent a strong signal to our elected officials. Both of the main candidates for the upcoming mayoral elections were present. Our congressional delegation also sent words of support.

A few snippets from the speeches.



Saturday, December 12, 2015

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Dad Influences Daughter's Fashion

The hat and hoodie were once mine. The daughter puts these items to better use.


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Special Rite Of Passage For 11-year-old

When the male child turns eleven, then the special initiation into meat-product snack food will commence.

This is a sacred ritual invented by me to explain this odd birthday gift.

The kid had been curious about beef jerky for long enough, so I felt the time was ripe.


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Birthday Brings 11-year-old New Art

Panoramic view of the kid's chamber.

The kid wanted, and received, art by Banksy, the famed English graffiti artist, to spruce up his room.

Down came the Minecraft poster.

Another year, another big leap forward in style points.

Banksy wall stencil.

Photo reproduction of a Banksy work on a wall.

Some items that made the cut for another year.


Saturday, December 5, 2015

Birthday Fun And Water Parks

This is what a card to an 11-year-old looks like.

Part of the birthday fun was taking the kid and his friend to a water park.

Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum and Water Park is an actual place. The museum is a serious, legitimate affair, with historic planes such as the Spruce Goose and a space shuttle, among other treasures. Yes, there is a water park sort of attached to it (if only by theme, as the two buildings are about a thousand yards apart).

The water park has a 747 on the roof, making going to it an educational moment, if you try really hard (there's some plaque somewhere) . The first time we visited I made the effort to take the kids to the museum, but now there is no pretense and we head directly to the water.

I got wet and did the various water slides. The sensation of speed is an addiction I still crave, even though I think I should know better.

While in line for the "Mach 1" chute I stood among a group of teenage boys. One in the know shared the knowledge that if you arch your back and keep your body rigid, minimizing the places where your body makes contact with the slide, you can greatly increase your speed.

I tried it and indeed accelerated to a place of excellent speed that I had not previously known. The teenager inside of me thrilled. Unfortunately for the teenager, he was trapped in a body of a 50-year-old who became dizzy from the darkness and agitation.

When I splashed down I had to focus hard to get to the edge of the pool where I rested for several minutes, adamant I would not need assistance from the lifeguards who apparently were still in high school.

I learned my lesson and expect not to do it again unless I absolutely have to. Such is the way of the world.


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Last Blog Post About NYC Unless I Change My Mind

The spectacle of Times Square is always overpowering.

The New York vacation was so much fun I keep looking through the photos and reliving the high points.

We wanted to give this street poet the same word of inspiration we gave to a poet in Oregon but the line was too long. Poetry is popular in a place like New York City.

The kid wouldn't stop until this photo was taken. So much for trying to bring some art and culture into the mix.

Should I ever have to guard a 7'6'' man in basketball this is what it would look like.

This was the poster for the show at the Jewish Museum.


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Ellis Island And The Statue Of Liberty

Hard to stand at the base of the statue and not feel its gravity. The torch is not of a burning fire, but one of illumination and enlightenment.
In addition to having fun in NYC of the wax museum sort, we also had more serious outings -- namely, a trip to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

I was moved visiting the statue as there were people there from many parts foreign, gawking, remarking, celebrating all that the statute might stand for. I say might because the audio narration stated that different periods celebrated the statue for different reasons. For example, during WWII the statue became the symbol for war bonds.

Ellis Island was also moving to visit, the sweeping expanse of the main entrance hall easy to imagine crammed full of people. I went to the website of the Statue of Liberty - Ellis Island Foundation and entered my family name and was able to find 256 instance where people with the exact same last name entered and exited the country. I learned my grandfather had boarded a ship called Europe in 1951, most likely for a vacation.
The second floor of the main building.
I had been told by a relative that the officious clerks often changed the names of the immigrants out of a misplaced desire to create instant Americans. The audio narration maintained that this rarely happened. The clerks usually took the names verbatim from the ships' manifests. Often the immigrants wanted new names for the purpose of starting with a clean slate in a new place. The narration didn't explore the notion that the ships' clerks might have been drunk or just a bunch of wiseasses.

Speaking of which, here it is, your moment of Ellis Island Zen.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

New York Was Excellent And Full Of Saxophones

His Wax Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
Our family visited relatives in New York City over break and had a really excellent time. The kids were spoiled by their grandmother, and I enjoyed family and some amazing cultural experiences at museums, theaters, and Ellis Island.

But now that I'm back and going through my pictures, nothing says New York like wax figures of famous people. My son and I visited Madame Tussauds and had a good time taking selfies in front of all sorts of figures.

It was hard to imagine anything more commercialized, with upselling at every corner and five exits through gift shops, but still it was fun to walk around the figures and marvel at the verisimilitude.

Me: End the Occupation; Golda: Occupation schmockupation.

History still can't figure this guy out.

This one was the scariest of all.

This was the most realistic (?!) Hulk figure I've ever seen.
Bonus Central Park video: