Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Friday, October 27, 2017

Remains Of The Day's Sandwich

This is what your plate should look like after eating an excellent sandwich. Vegetables of all sorts should have fallen out. Condiments should have dripped.

The above are the remnants of a turkey and cheese made special by a garden of toppings, dijon, and mayo.

I know it's considered excessive to blog about all the food you eat, but I'm trying to be edgy by blogging the food I didn't eat. Well, I didn't eat all of it -- I love pickles. Guilty!


Thursday, October 26, 2017

Kid Stresses About Math Test Then Does Well

The night before the test the kid and I did some algebra word problems together. The kid was tired and really upset that he didn't understand every nuance of the problem set.

I told him to go to bed and get up and review when his mind was fresh. He was so sure he was going to do poorly. I bet him a "fancy dessert" that he would do 85% or better. He took the bet.

He woke up early, studied, watched a comedy video, then aced the quiz.

He sent me the picture from school via email -- yay technology!

I will update the internet about the fancy dessert soon.


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Why History Matters

I am proud of my brother who fights daily against the warm glow of historical amnesia.

The video:


Monday, October 23, 2017

Long Walks Good

"Feet on marble sound like spoons taping eggs." Vern Rutsala
This weekend I was feeling the letdown that comes from returning from an excellent and exciting travel. I was in that restless mood where being inside felt like slow aggravation. Outside was dark and rain.

I put on the raingear and resolutely went outside. When the winter months come, it's hard to find the motivation to just get out the door.

I tell myself that going on a walk won’t necessarily improve my mood, it’s merely a good thing to do until I feel better. Once out the door, my magical thinking kicks in, and I start to believe that something good, something special will come out of the experience.

I walk and my mind wonders where it will. I take different routes, but I like walking out of the West Hills of Portland, down to the river through the downtown.

Sunday morning, I found myself at a plaza where quotes are inscribed in the tiles. Glancing down, I found a quote by a favorite teacher at college, Vern Rutsala. He taught poetry and was a patient and inspiring professor. I purchased his books, feeling deeply the melancholy forests of Idaho and other points.

For the rest of the walk, I was back at Lewis and Clark college, writing poems, sharing them in class, listening to Vern talk about the rhythm and percussion of words.

I came home feeling pretty good.


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Secret Of Life Right There All Along

I was walking downtown, feeling low energy and lost in thought, then there it was on the ground. The secret of life, sort of.

Perhaps it's not the secret of life, but it is something that should be kept in mind.


Monday, October 16, 2017

Finally I Went To A Timbers Game

The Timbers, the local MLS club, have been an exciting presence in our midst -- but only yesterday did we see a game. The level of play was excellent, with lots of attacking and a good goal count: the Timbers beat D.C. United 4-0.

The Timbers Army, the fan club, made the match that much more exciting with their chants and energy. I passed by the stadium at 9:00 am and people were already in line for a 2:30 pm admission for a 4:30 pm match. These are hardcore fans.

Fans getting comfortable in the am for the day's match.

Lucky for me I went with a group of knowledgeable people who were able to key me in on some of the traditions. Every time Timbers score a goal, Timber Joey saws a slab off a log, to present the slice to the player at the end of the match. Some of these players must have a real wood pile!

Obviously, many of the players come from foreign countries, played in the most prestigious leagues and national teams, before becoming Timbers. But what kind of qualifications does Timber Joey have besides from knowing how to run a hot saw?

The answer comes from the Timbers website:

Joey Webber was born and raised in the timber town of Philomath, Ore., where he attended the School of Forestry as a youth. He competed in state forestry and timber competitions and ranked in several events including pole climbing, jack double bucking, fire hose relays, axe throwing, log rolling and hot saw operation. Growing up, Webber was also a competitive rugby player and was a member of the U.S. National Rugby Team’s U-19 pool for two years (1996-97). He competed as a bare-back bronco rider in the Northwest Professional Rodeo Association from 1996-2000, and the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association in 2000.

Timber Joey really could get the crowd going -- I suppose it's easy when your team is winning and scoring lots of goals.


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Anachronistic Me

I'm embarrassed I still had a landline in 2013. I'm not as progressive as I thought.

We have had no cable TV since then as well. Our kids will see coaxial cable and phone jacks in our home and be reminded of the time when dinosaurs walked the earth.

At least we all still use writing implements. Cliff bars have been supplanted with Kind bars, but occasionally I still buy them. Cliff bars are the more durable in the summer heat.

And lastly, yes, I still use a desktop computer.


Friday, October 13, 2017

New Show In The House: "Adam Ruins Everything"

My 12-year-old son introduced me to the show “Adam Ruins Everything” and I love it. Ostensibly a comedy, a hyperactive presenter (Adam Conover) debunks popular false ideas that pervade American society.

The show is similar in style to the Food Channel’s “Good Eats,” except that Adam Conover isn’t a creepy jerk and he’s actually funny. Also, the show has a budget and the production is slick and fast-paced.

The main reason I like the show is that academics and scientists appear as themselves, talking about their research and ideas. The show has a segment called “Behind the Scenes” where Conover interviews key people in a serious manner, reiterating the points made quickly or with excessive drama.

The show is educational, smart, and, yes, mostly funny, even though the character Conover plays is a geeky motor mouth. It is a celebration of rational thought, serious thinking, and expert opinions – all sorely needed in this age.


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Dad Explains British Heavy Metal To The Kid

Legendary metal maniac Derek Smalls takes it to 11.
I was listening to Judas Priest’s “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming” with the 12-year-old.

He asked me, “Dad, why is it that British metalers rock the hardest?”

Although this is not my belief, I didn’t want to overwhelm the kid with Venn diagrams, data sets and other scientific reports that might be beside the point for one so young.

Instead, I focused on the factors that contributed to the high level of metal excellence exhibited by many loud and heavy bands from the British Isles.

I told him that when kids in the UK are about 10 years of age, they undergo the Motörhead-Battlezone personality test, which is administered by the local municipality. For those who score well, the kids are taken from their homes and ensconced in a decrepit Scottish castle. There they are denied sympathetic human contact for two years and forced to perform exhausting physical labor, usually moving huge rocks for castle repair. They eat nothing but raw haggis and oatmeal, sleeping on straw and wearing homespun woolen tunics.

 After the two-year period, they are given electrified instruments and allowed to socialize with other castles in the area. Each castle has its own traditions of rocking, sort of like the different houses at Hogwarts.

The results are high octane, feverish guitar solos, and violent lyric imagery. Power chords, like claps of thunder, reign down on audiences near and far. Like ravenous animals, these amped up metalers go forth to seek and destroy those who attempt metal with inferior materials and attitudes.

Tomorrow I’ll explain to the lad about Reggae.  


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Pretentious Blogger Riffs On Baywatch

Portdaddia’s early work is often compared with that of his teacher, proto-symbolist blogger Señor Crusty Pants. A fervent admirer of the old masters, Mr. Pants influenced his student’s subject matter (mythological and religious themes), compositional elements, and treatment of color. After refusing repeated invitations from Melvin in Beaverton, who considered Mr. Pants one of “the three greatest masters of the internet,” Mr. Pants instead urged Portdaddia to forget about fine arts. 


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Old Dad Relates To Kid Through Punk Rock

I had a college radio show and I loved playing the Dead Milkmen, as well as the Dead Kennedys, the Cramps, Gun Club, Butthole Surfers, Black Flag, Circle Jerks, and just about any other weird, fast, offensive music I could get my hands on. It just felt right.

I loved the way the songs subverted notions about how music is supposed to sound, how the best music is performed by highly skilled musicians, how conventional tripe should be exalted.

I moved on with my tastes, but I have always cherished the raw energy and brazenness of this kind of music.

Fast forward 32 years and the 15-year-old daughter likes these songs, even wants to hear the details about when I went to crappy clubs to hear the bands play to audiences sometimes numbering less than 50.

Hey, if this makes me a little bit okay, then I'll take it.

Some snaps from back in the day.


Monday, October 9, 2017

R Rated Films And The Teenager Who Is Not 17

A still from "The Ring"

This past weekend the 15-year-old tried to see an R rated movie and was denied. Seventeen is the threshold. She bought a ticket for the Lego movie, then tried to see the R-rated Stephen King movie "It." She and her friend were observed by management entering the wrong theater by video feed. To the theatre's credit, her money was refunded.

I grew up in a small town where I was able to see R rated movies at an early age in the local movie theatre. I don't know if this was because I lived in pre-history, the independent theatre wanted my cash, or movie ratings were considered suggestions rather than law.

I didn't get mad at the kid, sort of happy she was trying out transgressive behavior -- about time!

As a consolation, she watched "The Ring" at home with her friend. This movie was made in 2005 and might even depict a society many years in the past. Part of the plot revolved around a ringing telephone, a landline, something gone from our house for many years.

I helpfully explained the device, how it operated, why it made noise.

Needless to say, my comments were not appreciated. They grow cynical so fast!


Sunday, October 8, 2017

What Happens When Pseudo Art Critic Gets Hold Of Blog

Portdaddia was a devoted participant of the Portland Blog or Shut Up movement of 2012, posting his thoughts and images in the pursuit of cultural criticism and sentimentality. His style, like other bloggers of his age and era, reflect the cultural impact of The Onion, The Daily Show, and Bob Ross art instruction. Portdaddia admires the irascible tenor of the Bike Snob, who often sniggers at ethereal bikers in race gear who are engulfed in mists of gray, the color symbolizing misplaced spirituality in Portland. The above image, centering on Portdaddia himself, assumes a majestic yet humble stance. He is portrayed in a state of divine and comic revelation. His hat forms a radiant halo, reinforcing the picture’s outdoors-as-religion narrative. The child in the background reminds us that the blog is ultimately a metaphor for what not to do as a parent.


Saturday, October 7, 2017

Dancing And Other Video Updates

The above video was produced for a school assignment for a video production class.

The kid likes to tap.

More modern dance.


Friday, October 6, 2017

Kid Draws Calydonian Boar For School Thing

When the kid told me about the Calydonian Boar I had to look it up on Wikipedia. This is the story:

The Calydonian Boar is one of the monsters of Greek mythology that had to be overcome by heroes of the Olympian age. Sent by Artemis to ravage the region of Calydon in Aetolia because its king failed to honor her in his rites to the gods, it was killed in the Calydonian Hunt, in which many male heroes took part, but also a powerful woman, Atalanta, who won its hide by first wounding it with an arrow. This outraged some of the men, with tragic results. Strabo was under the impression that the Calydonian Boar was an offspring of the Crommyonian Sow vanquished by Theseus.

Atalanta drew first blood, winning the hide – well done!

When I read the tale, it became apparent that the tension between the sexes for equality isn’t a modern phenomenon, but has been around since antiquity.

I loved reading mythology as a kid and am humbled by its richness as an adult.

I also draw from this how awesome is monotheism. If I had to honor many goddesses or gods every time I went for a bike ride, lest I experience complete destruction, I would find this bothersome. Much more so, say, than having to remember to turn on Strava.

I like lighting candles but might find making burnt offerings at an alter inconvenient, especially if I had run out of those green propane canisters and had to go to the store.

Myths have purposes and the Calydonian Boar might be a tale worth telling for the simple notion that men should not become outraged by powerful women.