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Showing posts from 2007

Most Addictive Game Ever...

I came across "Hordes of Orcs" by Freeverse. This is possibly one of the most addictive games I have ever played. (Currently Apple Macintosh OSX only...)

It is a "tower defense game", and for $25 it is a bargain. (You can save 10% through the month of December by using the coupon code MACSANTA07TEN ).

They have a playable demo that lasts for 60 minutes. It is simple to play, tough to master. I highly recommend it...

(As if I needed something else to cut into my free time).

Portland sports bars - that are minor and kid friendly.

I wrote in the past about the difficulty of finding good sports bars that allow people under 21. Here is an update to that...

This year we have had some better luck, and have more information to share.

In Portland, there are a few sports bars which allow kids or people under 21, and here is what we think of them.

"OnDeck" in the Pearl reversed their "no minors" policy. But they still suck. Their menu is not all that great, they don't have the most or best TVs or TV placement. Their staff seems to be unmotivated, and in fact it just seems like the whole thing is run by people who don't care about the business at all. I cannot recommend OnDeck at all, even though they have one of the coolest locations in the city. They have no kids menus at all, and they wont even work with you (like make a small version of something on the menu). The service sucks. So over all there is no real reason to go there unless you happen to live right nearby.

Much like the …

Portland to rename a street after Douglas Adams

There are plans afoot, and it looks like the organizations are following city code this time, to rename a Portland street after the late Douglas Adams.

Of course they are working on - 42nd avenue.

This amuses me...

Lets hope they don't bull-doze a row of houses to make room for it...

And as much as I hate to link to myspace, here is the page for the Douglas Adams Boulevard group.

And for the record, I am opposed to renaming streets. But if there is going to be a street renaming frenzy, at least lets have them be clever and fun - and not so controversial. Additionally, I would have to say that this renaming would give 42nd ave MORE significance than the number 42 ever could...

Wii Rocks!

Guitar Hero III on the Wii is really cool. Even though it is not *my* personal favorite, three members of my family love it. And the word is that it is much harder than the previous two Guitar Heroes.

So if you have a Wii (if you don't, you should...) and you can find a Guitar Hero III for the Wii - I suggest picking it up. You won't regret it.

A small note, however, the Wii version has a glitch where it is only outputting sound in mono. Activision is working with Nintendo to plan the best way to remedy the situation, but we are told to expect free replacement disks early in 2008 which will fix the problem and put Wii Guitar Hero III in stereo like the other two platforms.

New England Patriots must die!

The NFL is so rigged right now. The Patriots can only win games because they cheat or when the bogus calls on game-influencing plays go their way while everyone agrees it was a bad call.

It all started with the "Snow Job" where they beat the Raiders due to possibly the most bogus call in the history of football - epitomizing a season where after September 11 it was vitally important to have the red white and blue "Patriots" win the championship.

Since then, the Patriots are given excessively easy schedules and play in an excessively weak division. And any game-impacting controversial call goes for the Patriots.

It is bullshit, and it must end.

Success with Portland city services.

I would like to take a minute to mention that I have had a few very good successes with some services that the City of Portland provides.

If you see a traffic hazard that the city can fix - you can report it by calling (503)823-SAFE. The city has been real good about responding. They fixed the problem I reported in under three days! But there has to be a legitimate problem. You call, leave your name and information and a description of the problem on their answering system. If they need more info they will contact you. Once again, that number is (503)823-SAFE (503)823-7233.

If you have a parking concern. Such as cars parked across a sidewalk, bike lane, or a driveway - you can call parking enforcement. (503)823-5195. I even called them after hours and left a message and there was a response!

If you see Graffiti anywhere in Portland, you can report it to the Graffiti Abatement office. Usually it will be removed promptly... I have had good results with them as well.

Again,…

Portland Police Bureau is officially the worst.

OK, well maybe not officially. But at least in my mind.

Here I am putting on my opinion hat. This post is purely my opinion and nothing more. I am not going to (at this time) do any research on the subject. I simply want to rant a little.

I love Portland. I have found so many wonderful things here. And the city government is generally one of the better city governments I have ever come across, in all the places I have lived across the USA. The Portland city government is generally accessible. You can usually have good results working with almost any bureau. They work well with people, and most of the staffers that I have met genuinely care and take their jobs seriously. Almost everyone who is "in the trenches" really cares about the city and is working to make it better.

Even the elected officials tend to be pretty good. Sure, as with any elected government - there are SNAFUs like the stupid Cesar Chaves street rename BS and other crap... But that tends to happen…

People are stupid.

Seriously. People are stupid.

Today leaving work, I was maybe three or four steps in front of a woman. We were going through one of those foyers where there are two sets of doors to pass through, placed possibly 10 feet apart or so. Going through the first set, I held the door for the lady, and she walked up to the already opened door that I was holding and she pushed the handicapped "automatic door" button. Then at the next set of doors, I again held the door for her and she again hit the power door button.

What the hell?

And what is with the drivers who get pissed off when you are walking through a crosswalk - like you delayed them 13 seconds or so. They floor it and accelerate at top speed for 41.7 feet where they need to stop at the next light. Great use of fuel there buck-o! And I am sure it is really good for your car too genius. Seriously - with downtown Portland's blocks being less than 200 feet there is NEVER any reason to try and accelerate hard - you&#…

Ahhh, the Mountain.

There is nothing quite as nice as the first day of the season up on the mountain.

Timberline, Mt. Hood.

There was really only one lift running (Palmer). But it was a wonderful day.

Pucci was a mess, and they tricked us into thinking it would be better to ski down and take the lift up than walking to the mile. Not so. It was icy to the extreme, the snow was so hard packed. And there were rocks EVERYWHERE. It was so hard getting to the bottom of Pucci I wish I had just walked over to the mile. Riding up the mile was strange - as I was in ski clothes, had skis on my feet, and it was cold - but there was no snow. (Even more weird was riding the mile back down...).

Palmer was nice nice nice. Good snow considering. But it was windy and cold. Not too bad though.

After a short first day we called it quits as the biting wind and the long lines (with only one lift it got to be a big wait...) made it so that we felt it better not to push ourselves. Several long runs was enough to bre…

Happy Veterans' Day from Portland!

No matter what your political views or opinions, those serving in the armed services bear a significant burden - as do those who love and care for them.

Please take a moment to consider those who do serve and have served. Those in uniform deserve our love and respect.

Happy Veterans' day from Portland, Oregon!

Remember Me

I am the fellow who sits in the restaurant patiently while the waitress does everything but take my order.

I am the man who stands quietly while the department store clerks finish their chit chat.

Yes, you might say that I am a nice guy. But guess what else I am? I am the customer that never comes back. It amuses me that you spend thousands of dollars to get me back into your store when I was there in the first place. All you had to do was to give me a little service and show me a little courtesy. -taken from the back of a business card for R&J Service Inc. Truck Repair, Portales, New Mexico. (Rick and Jerry from R&J Service were great guys. I have had their business card since the early 1990s.)

No rest for the apathetic.

I have been involved in may community initiatives, processes, and committees over the last several years, and I have begun to notice something about people. I don't have any links or stats or such - this is just my viewpoint.

Any time there is something done - there are always that camp that must complain. We all know them, the folks that are never happy with any solution. They are more than happy to tell you how the government screwed up, or the government screwed the people, or the government is full of idiots. There is no project too big or too small to draw their ire.

You hear them complain about roads, about Transit, about bicycles, about development, about zoning, about environmental restrictions. Here in Portland we have had some high profile projects that people just love to hate. The Tram. The Streetcar. MAX. South Waterfront or the Pearl.

But if you ask those people "Well, did you attend any of the meetings?" the answer will invariably be "no"…

Please use Revolving Door

There is a certain workplace in downtown Portland that anyone who is familiar with it will instantly know what I am talking about. It is a large workplace, and at the entrances there is a revolving door between two regular doors.

There are large signs on the regular doors that say "Please Use Revolving Door". This is because a revolving door does not let in heat or cold the same way a regular door does. When you open a regular door there is a large breeze of air that comes through, and it is very inefficient from a heating or cooling standpoint. A revolving door in contrast, is never really "open". At any point in time two if it's "arms" will be in contact with the walls, allowing it to maintain a "seal".

Well I think a very interesting study in human nature is these doors.

Fully 50% of the people I observe walk through the doors with the big signs on them saying "Please Use Revolving Door".

If I had the time I would sit there…

Someone destroys my Bill Richardson sticker

Last night, in Downtown Portland of all places, someone felt the need to destroy one of my Bill Richardson for President stickers.

Sure, I don't expect everyone to agree with me politically. Fair enough.

But what on earth could make you so mad about Bill Richardson? Are you mad because he is a "dark horse" candidate? Are you mad because most people have not even heard of him?

Maybe the person who ripped apart the sticker was from New Mexico and had some personal reason.

In any event I thought it was a strange thing... Now if It had been a Hillary or W sticker I could at least understand the animosity.

To each their own I guess. Just try and keep your mitts off my car.

Stop renaming Portland streets.

Not only have they chosen one of the best Blogger themes, but the folks at cafe unknown have also put together a wonderful piece laying out much more eloquently than I would - why we should not be renaming Portland's streets, and how there are better more appropriate options.

Please Please stop renaming Portland's streets. Portland has history too. And changing the names of the streets to honor those who were not really even part of Portland's history does a disservice to all of those who have made Portland their home in the last 150 some odd years.

If you want to name new streets - fine. But keep the old ones. Please.

I predicted Oden's injury - poor Trailblazers!

Back in July (July 5th to be exact) I said that I thought it would be funny if Oden, the Trailblazers new draft pick, was hurt and could not play for this season.

Well, it has come true. He is most likely out for the entire season.

I think this is funny.

Not because I want him to be hurt, not because I enjoy anyone *actually* being hurt. Bit simply because when they drafted him everyone here in Portland went berzerk.

People would not shut up. Banners were hung all over town. People made signs. It was ridiculous. It was like he was the second coming.

What's more amazing is that my exact words were:
Oh, and I think it would be extremely funny if the Portland TrailBlazers pick - Oden - like blows his knee or something while doing something mundane, like getting out of the shower.
Well, here are Oden's exact words from his personal blog:
On my vacation earlier this summer i got up off the couch and remember my knee having a sharp pain in it.
Whoah - I sorta, well, nailed it!

Downtown class - but still Kid friendly.

I enjoyed dinner this evening at Mama Mia in downtown Portland.

Kudos to them. The food was very good, and not too pricey. Adult meals ran from $10 to $20.

But what impressed me the most was that it was a very classy atmosphere, and yet they still were very kid friendly. They welcomed my child with crayons and a picture to color. They have good selection on their kids menu. And the staff was very friendly to my child throughout the entire process.

While I was eating, there were 5 other families that I could see in the dining room. No kids were running around or being noisy or problematic.

I really appreciate when restaurants embrace kids. Not every kid friendly place has to turn into chuck-e-cheese. Some people just like to have good meals in nice places with their children. And usually these people will have taught or be in the process of teaching their children that in a nice restaurant (or any restaurant for that matter) you should behave yourself.

I both dislike parents w…

Not safer, just stupider.

The first definition of stupider is "Slow to learn or understand; obtuse." I think that there would be good cause to add to it "See American".

Today, while passing through the security checkpoint at Portland International (PDX) I witnessed the TSA personnel sending people to the back of the line for not taking off their flip-flops. They shouted endlessly about removing liquids, regardless of size. And they generally treat every one of us like we were infants incapable of understanding simple instructions.

But perhaps they might be on to something.

Extremists suck, No?

Two minor gripes.

First - I have been noticing a lot of people writing comments or articles lately that end in the question "no?". It is as if we have had a sudden influx of people wanting to sound "international" or something, like they are ESL when most likely they are from Illinois. So many things are now written like this:

"It seems like a pretty good idea to get out of Iraq, no?"

No? Yes? Wait, I am confused. Is it a good idea or not? Are you answering your own question? What the hell are you trying to say?

And my second nit:

Don't people get the fact that the more extreme you are in your leanings - the more damage you usually do to your "cause"?

Portland Bridge Clusterf@#k

Well, we started off with good intentions. We rode down to the Bridge Pedal this morning, and it looked more like the Bridge March.

The line of people walking their bikes extended all the way over the Ross Island bridge and back through the industrial area all the way to OMSI. Packed in, curb to curb.

We turned around and went home. No way I was going to fight that all day.

It is time for the BTA to limit entrants to the Bridge Pedal to 10,000, and possibly break it up into two weekends. One weekend for the 8 and 10 bridge rides, and one weekend for the 6 bridge ride. Each weekend limited to 10,000 riders.

As it currently is, there is just no way that I am going to do this again. And we have ridden in the bridge pedal every year since 2001. But the last 3 years it has been seriously mismanaged and poorly planned.

Anyway, we put our bikes on the bike rack of our Jeep, and went and rode around the Columbia River in Vancouver. No risk of running into too many bicycles in Vancou…

Why I like Portland better than the Midwest.

Today, while visiting the "Mall of America" in Bloomington, Minnesota (Minneapolis / St. Paul metro) a late teens / early twenties woman walked by. She was dressed slightly punk. Something that you might find just about anywhere in Portland.

She had some black clothing on, some funky shoes with heels, a little bit of spiky jewelry, darkish eye make-up and had half her hair dyed green. Nothing really extreme. No visible piercing, no hard core tattoos, nothing that even really looked odd.

A girl, maybe around 6 or 7 years old, asked her mom: "Mom, why is she dressed like that?" and her mom replied "Oh, she must be in costume for the Harry Potter thing they have tonight."

Now, as a thirty something - I would look pretty silly if I suddenly went punk or goth. But by all reasoning, had I grown up in Portland - that is probably how I would have been. Most of the places I like best in Portland - *I* look out of place as the boring-ish guy in a T-shirt and …

Attack of the Steller's Jay

This morning we came downstairs and in our "breezeway" there was a large Steller's Jay. The Jay came in through our *dog door* and was trapped in the small room. There is only one window and it was covered, so he was just standing there on the railing.

We opened the door to the room, and there he was hopping back and forth on the railing, looking at us with that "don't mess with me" eye. It startled the crap out of us.

This is the bird that regularly terrorizes our cat out in the back yard. I have a strange feeling that he chased our cat through our dog door.

We had to go around back and open the back door from the outside, and he promptly flew out. Lucky our breezeway door had been shut, he might have killed us in our sleep. Or at least made a mess in the house.

He is clearly a very smart bird, as he pooped on my wife's Denver Broncos hat that was there...

And our cat is still frazzled.

Miscellany for the day

Apparently the absolute BEST time to OMSI or Benihana - is July 4. Both will be completely empty.

People who review movies should have to take into consideration the intent of the Movie. For example, Transformers is not *supposed* to have a strong plot. It is *supposed* to have robots transforming and kicking each-others asses. Sure, the plot should not SUCK. The plot should not BLOW. And the plot should not make you want to HURL. But in an ACTION movie the plot is not supposed to be amazing, groundbreaking, or awe inspiring. But the ACTION should be, and the plot is there to hold it all together. Oh, and not *everything* needs to be completely believably plausible in a SCIENCE FICTION movie.

Changing your career is scary.

What the hell is a "drive by appraisal"? Do they come by in a 1964 Impala and shower your house with machine gun fire, and if it is still standing your house is worth more? Hell, I can drive by a house and say "I'd buy that for a dollar&qu…

Transformers does not disappoint.

Michael Bay gets to keep his skin, because I just returned from the first showing of "Transformers" at the local theater (Pioneer Place, Portland), and it was everything I had expected.
Judging from the raucous cheers that erupted at various points throughout the movie, and the roaring applause from the filled theater at the close of the show, I would say that I was not the only one who felt that "Transformers" delivered.

I will be taking my entire family to see this one on the 4th.

And as a person who is both highly critical of movies, and had extremely high expectations for the live-action movie made-from-his-childhood-dreams - I enjoyed it very very much.

I will give no spoilers. But Optimus, aside from a new paint scheme, completely *is* Optimus.

My only qualm was the fact that the movie could be classified as a very elaborate commercial for General Motors. However, given that the entire original show was a thinly veiled advertisement for the toys - I guess …

Intelligent Design vs. Rock N Roll

An interesting** paradox came to my mind while I was at the dentist.

And no, I was not on any laughing gas. Although I do hate how as the shots wear off my nose tickled like I needed to sneeze... But dentist visits make for another entry.

The religious Christian folks who advocate teaching "Intelligent Design" in our children's science curriculum usually use a certain angle. It is usually pointed out that "Intelligent Design" and "Evolution" are both theories and therefore can be taught side by side as theory.

All-right, leaving aside the rebuttal that "Intelligent Design" is a moral, historical, allegorical, and theological "theory" and therefore doesn't belong in a SCIENCE curriculum, there is a glaring issue with their "teach them side by side" position.

Creationists like to push the concept that we should teach both theories side by side, and let the kids make their own intelligent decisions about which they fe…

Getting around Portland

There has been a little bit going on with Transportation around Portland recently.

One cool thing that I found is ByCycle. They have made a really cool trip planner that supports Portland. You can use it to find and map bike routes. It contains the Metro "Bike There" map, mashed up with Google Maps and a route planning algorythm. Pretty cool, check it out and play with the trip planner a bit.

The funding for the new Willamette bridge from Riverplace (area) to OMSI (area) for the Milwaukie MAX and Eastside streetcar loop passed. The new bridge will also have very good bicycle and pedestrian access. This will be very good for southeast Portland, and eventually the MAX line is to run to Oregon City. I am sure we will be seeing more on this in the short term future. This comes hot on the heels of news about MAX exceeding ridership records.

Good job legislators, now lets get the Sellwood bridge rebuilt.

I came across a site called GoLoco which could be a great tool for ca…

Portland Police target bicyclists disproportionately.

Portland police have lately been operating "stings" against bicyclists. They have been watching for things like not staying within bicycle lanes or not coming to complete stops at stop signs (including putting your foot down).

They have been targeting areas like SE Clinton around 26th, Ladd's Circle, the area between OMSI & the Springwater Corridor, the area on the east side of the Broadway bridge, and several others.
(Google "Portland bicycle enforcement action" to find lots of reports).

I have personally seen the ones between OMSI and the Springwater corridor, including one tonight. Often these "stings" will use massive amounts of manpower, the one at Ladd's Circle had at times six to ten officers on motorcycles and in cruisers. Tonight there were two motorcycle cops issuing citations.

According to Jeremy Van Keuren, Public Advocate for the office of the Mayor Tom Potter:
"In an average month, the Traffic Division will issue approxi…

Every bit of plastic ever made still exists.

If you have ever crate trained a pet dog, you will have found that dogs will do everything within their power to not shit where they sleep.

A dog will hold it until their face turns blue. Unless of course they are already blue, then they will just get a darker shade.

And if you (and the dog) have had the misfortune of getting stuck a little to long, and the dog HAS had to go in their crate, the minute the poor canine makes eye contact with you - you know it. The dog will feel as though they have betrayed the universe by pooping in the crate.

Well, humans are assholes. We could learn a thing or two from our dogs.

We only have one earth. Only one. No "fall back" or "plan B" exists despite what you may see in the Star Trek movies or read in the Cristopher Stasheff or Orson Scott Card novels.

I imagine that some day some poor wasted species - a distant relative to the Human - who has had to survive underground or in bubbles without being able to breathe air freel…

Suppressing one little number... (updated!)

Well, there is an awful lot of hubub on the net today about a certain number that the MPAA does not want people to see. Supposedly this number can be used to decode HD-DVD disks or some such use.

Of course I would never condone such things.

But I do not condone censorship either, and this kind of behavior shows what the DMCA is really capable of. So, people all over are finding creative ways to share the number.

I can't vouch for any of these links. They might be valid for a while, they might not. And if you are worried about "work safe" content - I can't guarantee that either. This post itself has profanity...

Here is my favorite so far, by Ludwik Trammer:
there were 09 planets
in the solar system
Fucking 9 planets
not 11
and not 02
but exactly 9 Damn planets
right in the middle
and everyone seemed happy

until 74 professors
meet on the conference
and started to wonder:
"we should have Exactly 3 planets
in our system" – proposed one
other opposed:
&qu…

BikePortland censors the word "jerks".

In a comment I made to BikePortland they censored the word "Jerks".

They censored three words I used. The first was "Asshat", which while I clearly don't think that to be a terrible word, I will at least give them the leeway to censor that on their own site.

However I am not sure what the problem was with the word "Jerks".

Here is the original text of my comment:
Too bad River City Bicycles is staffed by clueless asshats.
I went in there twice in the last couple years to buy some moderately expensive bike things (a couple at about $300 each). The first time they were jerks, I chalked it up to maybe a bad apple or someone having a bad day. Last week we tried again and they were jersks again. So we left and spent our money elsewhere…
Too bad too, I am in the market for a new Cannondale and they won’t get my business. (Note, the second occurrence of "Jerks" contains a typo extra s, I understand that already - no need to comment and tell me.)

Oregon House passes 3 renewable energy bills.

House Bill 2210B was voted on and PASSED in the Oregon House just now.

This measure is designed to encourage the Oregon based growing and production of biofuels. These including tax credits for producers or growers, some easing of restrictions of where biofuels production facilities can be sited, and a standard for quality and volume of biofuels in Oregon use.

However one thing that catches my eye, is the consumer tax credits:

Sections 24-28 provide for:
"BIOFUEL CONSUMER INCOME TAX CREDIT"

25.2.a - "A resident individual shall be allowed a credit against the taxes otherwise due under ORS chapter 316 for costs paid or incurred to purchase fuel blends for use in an alternative fuel vehicle."

The sections go on to describe the details, and the amounts.

But basically - for E85 or greater use, or B99 or greater use can get as much as 50 cents per gallon up to $200 max per year tax credit for using biofuels!

That will be a nice benefit for those of us who have been usin…

SuperBright LED tail light replacement not super bright

Recently I purchased a pair of "Luxeon" 3 watt LED bulb replacements for my motorcycle, a 2006 Kawasaki Concours. The tail lights on my motorcycle are the combo running-light / brake-light that many tail lights are, and use bulb type 1157.

There are many reviews of standard LED tail light replacement bulbs, and most of them say that they are just not bright enough. The consensus seems to be that you really need to have LED systems designed for the light from the ground up - as the bulb replacement units simply fall short.

The main problem, is that LED lights are very directional, they have a very narrow beam of light. Most tail light enclosures are designed for a regular incandescent bulb which puts light out in all directions. Because of this they use mirrors and lenses to direct the light out of the enclosure. This is the way that tail lights appear to fill up with light when they only have one small bulb in them.

LED bulb replacements typically will just shoot light …

Saddam Hussein execution video

Saddam Hussein has been the boogieman for my entire adult life. This last weekend he was executed, and in my opinion it was about 15 years too late...

For anyone who might be interested, there is a cell phone captured video of his hanging on Google video. It is kinda creepy. And I have to warn people - this is an actual video of an actual person being killed. Not everyone will want to see it. Here it is. Use your best judgement.

May Saddam meet whatever eternal punishment may await him, and may the people who's lives he ruined have some form of justice.

And may our current debacle in Iraq come to an end sooner rather than later and our troops come home safely, and hopefully the people of Iraq see peace within our lifetime.