Sunday, November 29, 2020

Photo Essay of the New Cat Stuart


COVID requirements mandated a Zoom interview to see if we were suitable cat parents, then we picked up the guy in a box and took him home. Zero time bonding at the shelter or even looking at the dude. Really big unveil when we opened the box for the first time.


Smart-ass video to arrive tomorrow.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

No Joke: Beware of Scams on Craigslist

 Back when the kids were, well, kids, we used Craigslist quite a bit to trade baby gear.

Generally, we had good experiences, although some people would say they were stopping by to pick up an item and never show up.

Today, after ten plus years not using Craigslist, I needed to sell some Subaru wheels and so returned to post an ad. There were 3,000 postings in the wheels/tires section of the Portland Craigslist. I had no idea if that number represented a glut of used wheels or an active market.

Low and behold, within an hour of posting someone contacted me via text that she was interested in purchasing the wheels. Oh, and could I please send her the Google Voice verification code that had just been sent to my phone. This way, she explained, she would know if my ad was legitimate.

For a moment this sounded like an appropriate step to take when thinking about a purchase. Lucky for me I did an internet search, and the first ten items were articles telling how this was a scam. The would-be-wheel buyer wanted to steal my Google Voice account. She would then be able to use a phone number to do crime and the digital trail would lead to me.

We’ll see if I sell the wheels and keep the fraudsters at bay. I suspect I’m fresh bait for the more experienced scammers.  

Friday, November 27, 2020

Why the Internet Sucks

Every seven days I get on average 1.5K views of my blog. This is an astounding number given the irregular posts and paucity of quality content. Who the hell would read this?

When one digs into the stats a bit more, checking out the referring sites, the picture becomes less rosy.

I assume that hits from these specific sites, used by actual people, are the true number -- only 116 brave souls checked out Portdaddia in the last seven days. The remaining 1,524 hits are likely from bots that crawl the internet looking for spam opportunities or other weaknesses to take advantage. Around 1,116 hits come unattributed from China.

I enjoy the connection with actual people blogging provides. For years my mother responded (by email, because she couldn't figure out the comment section) to most posts until her Alzheimer's overwhelmed her. Other friends and family glance at the blog from time to time to see what current delusions I suffer under.

These statistics are another reminder that the main purpose of the internet is for commerce. My life is improved with modern communication technologies but it's good to keep in mind that AI is constantly scanning us. 

Thursday, November 26, 2020

I’ve Become A Hardcore Gamer

 It’s cold and wet outside. There is a pandemic. So, in the spirit of trying to keep current and pass time I downloaded Assassin’s Creed Valhalla onto my computer.

As this is my second video game in a decade, I am entitled required to declare that I am a hardcore gamer.

I told this to my family who barely looked up from their devices.

What got the kid convinced that civilization was ending was when I told him I had read a review about the game in the New York Times.

Elsewhere I read that one could play the game in “Dad Mode” and not have the action be a non-stop gore fest. Whatever. Perhaps a gore fest could be cathartic.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

A Normal Discussion of Normal Weather

I own two bicycles – one for rain, and one for dry roads. The rain bike has fenders on it and is the less premium of the two bikes. Today I didn’t get rained on, but the wet leaf muck was so severe I had to hose off my bike after I came home.

Forty some degrees and damp is the normal weather for these parts at this time of year. I’m glad some things aren’t so shocking and out of whack. I feel good that the weather this week appears normal. We all need some normal after this year.

I’m also happy that it’s snowing in the mountains. Ski season will start in five days -- also fairly normal.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Outside is Safe, Except for Flat Tires

 I had a great ride yesterday, going for some miles in whine, I mean wine country.

I had a flat, which is always a bummer when one is really enjoying himself. My riding buddy had a CO2 cartridge to inflate the replacement tube – very slick. 

This was particularly important as I only carried a mini pump which would have taken many hundreds of pumps to get the tire up to pressure. Also, as it was raining and cold, quick tire repair had greater urgency. Back in the day when I rode more, I carried a frame pump, which, because it was longer, made swifter work of reinflating a tire.

I’m going to get me one of those nifty CO2 gadgets!

Thursday, November 19, 2020

New York Times Changes Colors of COVID Map to Reflect Higher Numbers

 Before there were just red zones to show high instances of COVID. Apparently, that wasn’t enough of a gradation. Now the colors go beyond red, to burgundy and black, to show where cases are over 250 per 100K of population.

Cases continue to peak in Oregon with no break in sight. I’m grateful for Governor Kate Brown who is proactively locking down Multnomah County where I live.

The Trump Administration Explained

 I worry that making a joke about Trump minimizes his damage to democracy and further legitimates his brand of idiocy. But sometimes a Cheech and Chong reference is just what the doctor ordered.


Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Work from Home Can Resemble Work from Office


Sharing candy is a timeless ritual of communal space. I’m happy to report that these bad boys are dark chocolate peanut M&Ms, one of the finest of the historical mass-marketed confections.

Fun fact: the company Mars, which owns the M&M brand, will purchase Kind, a firm emphasizing healthy snacks. The Kind bars I like have lots of nuts and chocolate. I can see a future where the conceptual snack labels of “healthy” and “unhealthy” will become even more meaningless than they are currently.

Let the snacking begin!

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Slick Marketing

 The big brains of merchandising at New Seasons supermarket have landed on a nifty marking strategy – brand Oreo cookies as a seasonal treat.

Not only is the War on Christmas being waged by godless heathens of coastal elites, but now we’re being told our favorite snack foods are somehow “seasonal” and can’t be enjoyed at other times.

I’m an entitled, grievance-riddled consumer who will not be told when to eat Oreos!

Mic-drop Stoke!

Monday, November 16, 2020

COVID Cases Leap Up In Portland But Are Low By National Standards


The above map shows the hot spots for COVID cases, the West Coast not being a significant red zone.

In Portland, Multnomah County, the map shows 23 cases per 100k people. Red zones generally have over 100 cases.

Our cases numbers have doubled in two weeks’ time, with a major holiday coming up, so things are not trending well. This latest bump in cases is partially attributable to Halloween and the inability of Americans to forgo parties and practice social distancing, another factor making Thanksgiving a harbinger of further increases of the virus.

Starting for a month Wednesday, gyms, restaurants, bars, will be closed, except for takeout service. Other business will be affected as well. 

Time to watch more TV and hope for better. We will get through this. Good news about another company making a vaccine today.

Friday, November 13, 2020

I Like Living in Portland

I was walking in downtown Portland by the river and came upon the above dedication. A simple reminder that things were once different.

Further north there was the Japanese American Historical Plaza, with scores of cherry trees, haiku, rock gardens, with the powerful yet understated thought that the wartime incarceration of Americans of Japanese descent should never have happened.

These efforts to acknowledge historic wrongs are important and add to our sense of place in history. They are also a beautiful reminder that our lives, our culture, our destiny are always changing and it’s good to have a few mileposts on the journey.


Thursday, November 12, 2020

The New Normal: How To Ski In A Pandemic


Today I woke up and began getting that late fall itch as to when the ski season will start. Now that pandemic is the only life, stretching uninterrupted into the distant future, one must drill down on survival strategies. I am relying on skiing to break me out of the house and restore my quarantined mind to equilibrium.

Mt. Hood Meadows, the premier ski hill serving the Portland area, will open with certain guidelines restricting use.

The tools Meadows will use to manage visitation will be limiting sales of lift tickets and multi-day passes and dynamic pricing. A weekend ticket will cost more than a weekday one, incentivizing lower use times. Also, one can purchase a single-use daily ticket for a limited number of hours, such a three-hour window in the afternoon.

The goal in all of this is to keep the number of skiers on the mountain below 3,000. The above graphic shows peak day visits. Interesting to note that even on peak days, the afternoons are not crowded, as most skiers choose to get their runs in early. This just makes sense, as who doesn’t want fresh tracks on a powder day or beautifully tracked groomers in the morning.

Fun fact: The record for skiers at Meadows at one time is 5,400.

The fly in the ointment will be bad weather, when the higher lifts will not be in operation. Then the 3,000 skiers might be on just a few chairs or crammed into the lodge.

I’m planning on eating lunch in the car and only going to the lodge to use the restrooms. Face covering is not a problem.

With that I will now pray for snow.

Ski Stoke!

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Teaching the Kid How To Drive

This really is us. Not.

 I’ve been teaching my son to drive. So far, the experience has been positive. The kid is making progress and I have an opportunity to share my views about life.

I suspect the kid is feeling he is forced to endure my comments with false good cheer until he gets his license. If so, he would be correct in his assumption.

Today’s driving lesson was on the importance of turning right as well as left. The bigger idea is that sometimes you must get somewhere, and ideology doesn’t serve the goal.

Slowly we will untangle our tightly wound partisanship.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

I Miss the Movie Theatre


Going to a theater to do takeout is not that enticing. We have a big, quality television but it is not the same. I still love going to a movie theater. 

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Winter Riding Is Here: Leaf Muck


Hoping to return to a normal quarantine life of solitary bike rides and lots of non-political TV. Need to start hosing off the bike.