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Showing posts from 2008

Oregon. . .

More Mac GPS goodness: Lots of resources!

In my previous post about Topographical maps, and other Macintosh GPS utilities - I completely forgot to mention one that is a great tool.

Load My Tracks.

Using Load My Tracks I can pull my GPS tracks right off my device and save them for use by other applications: GPX files, even KML for use with Google Earth. Load My Tracks supports geocaching and a pretty good range of devices.

But while looking into Load My Tracks, I also found some more resources:

Here is a list of GPX resources. It is a pretty good list, and covers multiple platforms (Windows, Macintosh, Mobile, and cross-platform).

Some other applications that I have not tried, but I am including here in case they might be something you can use:

GPS Connect: A Freeware Garmin GPS Connection Tool for Mac OS X.

Mac SimpleGPS: a Macintosh application designed to manage waypoints, routes and tracks on your GPSR.

Between these links, and my previous post, you should have more than enough to get you started with however you would like…

Free Topographical Maps for all - and some Mac OSX GPS resources

Since the holidays might have brought someone some GPS type toys, I figured that I would recycle an older post of mine to share some information, and also add to it some new stuff I have found.

The Libre Maps project has purchased and made available for free all of the USGS Topographical maps of the USA. All 50 states.

The maps have always been free sort-of, there was just no where until now to actually GET them for free. The Libre Maps project raised enough funds to buy the many gigabytes of data and the Internet Archive is hosting them.

These are great 24k scale topographical maps folks. The same types you pay for in sporting goods stores. And many applications on your computers can work directly with them and your GPS. You can get water and tear resistant paper and print them out..

All good stuff...

For the lazy in the audience, here are Oregon's.

I use Apple Macintosh computers, and here are some tools I have found:

A commercial software package which is very powerful is

Things on the interwebs everyone should see.

Timesink alert.

Charlie Bit Me


Ninja Cat

And WEEEEEEEE! (contains profanity - NSFW)

I like turtles!

Truly Priceless! (Adult content)

Lookin' Ass Kitty (uhmmm, they say Ass a lot, PG-13 content)

The best part of waking up! (adult content, NSFW)

Where the hell is Matt?

The magic is in the hole! (adult content, Portland lore)

Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger!

Using Proper English (Profanity, Adult Content, NSFW)

Sad Kermit (PG-13)

There is no help for human kind.

No matter how many glimmers of hope you might find, no matter how many bright minds are found, no matter how many nobel prizes we give out, no matter what we do - Humans are doomed.

I have always held just a little bit of pessimism about Humankind's ability to survive long-term. Especially this last 200 years we have seemed to paint ourselves into a corner again and again.

It is especially hard for me to think this way because I have a child which I dearly love, and it pains me so that the world that I leave behind will be one which will not be worth passing on.

Oh sure, you may say that I am just down. You may say that I am just feeling the Holiday blues, or that I am ignoring all the good things...
the doors shattered, and the shrieking mob surged through in a blind rush for holiday bargains.
Sure, we have done some amazing things. Sure there have been wonderful people who are amazing, and sometimes we might see glimmers of hope here and there. Glimmers of hope? Or just pop…

insEyed out

These are photos of the inside of my eyes, the back wall of my eyes. This one is a little dark because my pupil was closed a bit. But it still came out OK.

This one came out better, my pupil for this eye had opened a bit more.

I think these are really cool. Thanks to the fine folks at Moreland Vision Center in SE Portland.

Oregon Voters - Too Late To Mail Ballots

Hey Oregon Voters,

The time has come and passed. If you mail your ballot in now - it won't make it by the deadline.

Instead drop them off by hand, at a ballot drop site:

Multnomah County

Washington County

Clackamas County

Links to all the other county elections offices

As of today, we have about 48% of Oregon registered voters have returned their ballots. Obviously that does not include any that are currently working their way through the mail. And we have 4 full days left to drop off ballots by hand.

Please vote, and Please drop your ballot off by hand, DO NOT MAIL IT! I repeat, today was the last day it could be mailed. Starting now they have to be dropped off by hand.

Oregonian: We can't endorse things that are successful and popular!

The Oregonian (newspaper) has decided that it cannot endorse the assisted suicide initiative that Washington voters will be deciding on this November (WA Initiative 1000).

Despite the fact Oregon's law has been successful:
Ten years' experience with Oregon's one-of-a-kind Death With Dignity Act has shown that our deepest concerns were unfounded. Safeguards built into the law appear to be working. On the plus side, the law has not created a tidal wave of assisted suicide since its enactment in 1997. Only 341 patients, 86 percent of them with terminal cancer, have died under its provisions. More than a third of those who have obtained lethal prescriptions never used them.
Despite the fact that Oregon's law has been popular:
It's also true that the law is popular, twice winning voter approval, and that vigorous public debate over it has led to much-improved end-of-life care in Oregon. The state is recognized today as the national leader in providing access to palli…

Now is the time for all good men to recycle their plastic...

I have written in the past about how much plastic we consume, and throw away - and the permanent nature of plastics. ( Every bit of plastic ever made still exists.)

Almost 90 percent of floating marine debris is plastic.

Plastic and other trash in our oceans is estimated to be killing more than a million sea birds and 100,000 mammals and turtles each year according to United Nations reports

Curbside recycling in Portland, and the metro area is pretty good. We do a good share better than many other cities of the United States, that is for sure. But there is a huge amount of plastics that we can't recycle at the curb - and it always pains me to throw them in the trash. We can do better!

I just found this tidbit, you can recycle all sorts of plastic that they don't pick up at the curb!

Check out the Plastic Roundup, coming in October (and is actually a fairly regular event).

Start saving up all those plastics that you normally throw away, and give them new life! Don't let …

We hate traffic more than we value sleep.

On Thursday night this last week, I had to drive into Tigard and Beaverton (two cities on Portland's west side) during the night time. I was amazed to see that a major construction project on Oleson Rd. was running during the night!

Oleson Rd. is a very valuable connector in the hilly southwest part of the metro area. It has been undergoing a redesign and repaving project for what seems like forever. But it runs almost 100% through residential neighborhoods. There is almost zero non-residential property actually on Oleson.

But Sunday through Thursday nights, they are working through the nights on the road. With bright lights and loud equipment. Many, probably hundreds, of homes are within mere feet of the road construction. As they widened the road, the yards of these homes shrunk considerably. Lots of the homes are now within one dog-leash of the new sidewalks. And there are significantly more homes in close proximity.

So apparently those communities would rather not sle…

Don't surveil us surveilling you.

This is in the entryway to the locker rooms at the Mt. Scott pool in Portland.I found it a tad funny. Your mileage may vary.

Live from Crüe Fest: Portland! (with updates)

We just wrapped up the first band of 5 that are playing Crüe Fest 2008. Trapt just finished a short set. Trapt rocks, we have at least one of their disks... Sixx AM is getting ready to start.

Trapt was great, and they promised to return to Portland in a few months.

We have the "cheap seats", all the way in the back of the Rose Garden arena, about half way up. For Trapt, the area around us was largely empty. Except of course for the one guy directly in front of us with only one brain cell. I seriously want to tell him that the band can't see him and the band can't hear him and no one likes his bonehead attempt at stadium seat head banging and moshing. F'ing loser, blocking my view.So far the crowd seems really really diverse. I am excited to see Papa Roach and Buckcherry, and really excited to see the Crüe. It has been 10 years since we saw Motley Crüe at the Schnitzer. And I really like their new album.

Well, hopefully the asshole in front of me doesn…

Easy Pickings - Cop sets a speed trap

A Portland Police officer sitting on the SE 9th Ave Pedestrian overpass clocks people coming off the Ross Island Bridge onto SE Powell Blvd.
There were about 6 officers waiting down on 9th to take off and pull over the offenders.

Here is the spot on Google Maps:

View Larger Map

Why I think we can't be saved.

This morning I was walking by Starbucks in Portland on MLK next to the Burgerville and the Convention Center. I decided I would like a Tazo and a pastry, so I stopped.

The parking lot was completely empty, but the line in the "drive" through had at least 5 cars in it. As I walked through the empty parking lot to the door, I looked at the shiny new white Chevy Tahoe SUV - the last in line.

I went inside, decided I wanted one of their breakfast sandwiches instead of a pastry. They had to prepare it in their toaster thingy so it took a couple minutes. I paid, waited for the sandwich. They called my name, I took my sandwich and tea, and walked out the front door. The lady in the white Tahoe was not even up to the ordering microphone yet.

If $4.50 gas won't encourage a person in a 14mpg vehicle to turn off the engine and walk inside - then there is not much we can do to get people to change their habits.

I see this all the time walking downtown. A person will gun it to…

Columbia River Crossing: & worst bottleneck in the nation.

What motivation would you need to spend 4 billion dollars on one single highway project, 4 billion dollars on one single 5 mile stretch of highway. 4 billion dollars on one single project that would be considered the single most expensive public works project ever in the history of the Pacific Northwest?

Would one of the nation's worst traffic bottlenecks qualify? I mean if you were going to spend twice the city of Portland's annual budget one one single project - would a nationally known and recognized traffic bottleneck be a good place to do so? If you wanted to spend four times the State of Oregon's education budget on a single 5 mile stretch of highway - would you want to cure something that was pretty bad - I mean really bad?

If you were going to ignore peak oil, or climate change, or air pollution, or gas price trends, or vehicle miles traveled trends, or economic advice - and build one single massive project that is likely to suck up regional transportation funds…

Cartoons as signs of the times.

You could think these are from Portland, what with all our bike culture and whatnot...

Cincinatti, Ohio.

Atlanta, Georgia.

Oregon is turning 150!

I know this is kind of early, but:

On February 14, 2009: Oregon turns 150.

Oregon150 is looking to coordinate and plan some big time celebrations. Check it out, and if you or any organizations you are involved with have ideas for something big to say Happy Birthday to Oregon next year - let them know! Or just share your Oregon story.

Why shooting should be banned on public lands:

I don't need to say too much. The pictures speak for themselves.These pictures were taken at ONE spot on NF-45 forest road in Mt. Hood National Forest. The road is also known as "Memaloose" or "Maymaloose" road depending on which sign and map you read. It is maybe 50 miles outside of Portland, southeast on Hwy 224 - along the Clackamas river.
The country up there is some of the most beautiful scenery on the planet. The ridge lines, and the deep jagged canyon from millions of years of raging water in the Clackamas river are something wonderful to behold.Driving up this road, we passed at least 5 spots that seemed to be popular with shooters, before we turned around. The road is a steep one lane paved road, and our GPS said we went from 700ft. at the river to 3000ft. almost instantaneously. At some points there are steep 1000 foot drops on either side of the road. It is breathtaking. Until you come across the shooting sites, which make you nauseous. I jus…

Chrysler Financial makes up American sounding names

I have been working with Chrysler Financial this week trying to resolve some issues with a vehicle financed through them. Every time I call I take notes of the call, including who I speak with.

Each call, I have spoken to someone who is Indian. Not Native American, but Indian from the subcontinent of India. Each person has had a very thick accent, with at least two of them being extremely hard to understand. I have not been able to ascertain if they are actually in North America or actually in India...

However, here are the names that they have given me:

Nick Wilson
Mark Cooper
Nicolas Adams
Samantha Williams

Either they are making up more American sounding names, or I just happened to call the only 5 Indian customer service representatives who happen to have completely American names.

Considering the fact that I have worked with hundreds of Indian people (I am in the IT industry) and not a single one has had an American sounding name - I would consider the odds to be signi…

Note to "public" cell phone users:

This goes out to the nice homely lady waiting for and riding bus 58 out of downtown Portland recently. Just because you CAN have personal discussions on the cell phone, doesn't mean you SHOULD.

We, the fellow passengers, have no real interest in your personal afairs. For example - despite what the other person on the end of the line might want to know, we certainly do not need to know that you are suffering your worst cramps in recent memory.

While I can sympathize with you, and I am sure many of our co-passengers can empathize with you - it is really none of our business.

But even if we were to feel some sort of tugging at our heart strings for your unfortunate suffering I feel fairly confident in pointing out that we really have no interest in the fact that you recently had vaginal discharge, which was determined to be caused by an infection which was treated by antibiotics and as such you are now feeling much better.

I am happy that your problem which would possibly embarra…

Beaverton Benihana delight!

So we are in Benihana enjoying a special lunch with the family. And the couple that we "shared" the hibachi grill / table with spent most of the meal on the phone or texting. They made several calls each, and then "excused" themselves by saying that today was their daughter's second birthday, and they were planning the party.

Hey, A$$HOLES: It is not my fault you are crappy parents and didn't plan until the last minute. Don't ruin my $20 lunch by blabbering (loudly) on the phone the whole time, please.

And to top it off, each one drank two beers and a goodly amount of saki. And they drove off in separate vehicles. Drunken birthday planners who are rushed and in a hurry! Glad I wasn't driving / biking / or walking around Beaverton this afternoon...

Some random image thoughts from around Portland

Here are some random image thoughts that I have from around the Portland area. Image thoughts. Those are images that struck me in one way or another, and here are my thoughts about them:

Seen this week at Fred Meyer on NE Broadway & 30th. Best sale EVAR!!!!

This is another one that I took a few years back (Feb 2003 to be exact). I figured I would include it here, for posterity sake. Good thing these price adjustments are "Automatic" because otherwise I would worry about the folks running the store. Or maybe we should anyway, because even if the computer spits out the signs auto-magically, some human has to take the sign and tape it to the products in question. These two photos were taken more than 5 years apart. Why was the "bug" in the software which allows "automatic price reductions" of zero to occur and print out not found and fixed within those 5 years?

You can barely make this one out. But it was a food-shoot. It is inside "Mother…

People are stupid A$$holes.

At a large company in downtown Portland, we worked hard to have facilities put in recycle bins. I had no idea that there was so much involved but finally we get them. Nice!

So today I go to take a few bottles and cans, and the "trash only" bin has lots of bottles and cans in with the trash, and the "bottles and cans" bin has lots of trash in with the bottles and cans.

Damn it people, it is three bins. Clearly labeled. How f'ing hard is this?

Are my standards for humanity too high?

An unauthorized biography of me!

I don't know how these guys did it, but they must have installed secret cameras in my house. There is no other way they could have known...

Hundreds victimized during mass robberies.

Tonight between the hours of 8 and 9 PM, hundreds of houses were burglarized. Local law enforcement agencies are looking into a possible connection between the occurrences, and have asked that any witnesses please come forward.

And in other news, power companies report minor brownouts across the region occurred around 9:05 PM as demand spiked on the power grid.

What I Killed Today

I normally would not just post a link to another blog - but this one is worthy. It has been "featured" if you will on some much bigger blogs than mine, such as Neil Gaiman and BoingBoing. But this is for my loyal reader...

The What I Killed Today blog is strangely moving, very sad, and almost surreal.