Sunday, July 31, 2005
Wired News reports that hackers can access guest information at hotels using infrared controls within the hotels.
A driver in Missouri leaned out of her car to spit, lost control of the car, and chases it. "I leaned out to spit and I leaned too far."
In the everything old is new again category, Vital Security is reporting on a new twist to an old virus that infects the user via Instant Messenger. It requires double clicking an exe and then clicking a link in IM, but someone will fall for it.
Think you're up on SQL Server 2005? Take a skills assessment test.
Wrestling? I don't get it. In fact, I've never understood the attraction for it in any form. Here's a definitely NOT WORK SAFE wrestling site featuring naked women with some interesting pin maneuvers and I still don't get it. Via Sexy Fandom.
Saturday, July 30, 2005
Senator Rick Santorum, one of the biggest assholes in Washington - thank you, Pennsylvania, believes that birth control is harmful to women because it allows them to avoid the consequences of sex. Via, Amanda. Via Feministe.
Friday, July 29, 2005
1) dj BC - Evening High (from Glassbreaks - Philip Glass meets Hip Hop mashup)
2) Prozac For Lovers - Love Will Tear Us Apart
3) Isaac Hayes - Theme From Shaft (Live)
4) John Cale - Caravan
5) Afro-Mystik - Dreamwalkers
6) Curtis Mayfield - Ghetto Child (Demo)
7) Ely Guerra - Yo No
8) Little Axe - Walk On Water
9) Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings - How Long Do I Have To Wait For You?
10) Queen - You're My Best Friend
Newsday.com is reporting that a woman from Utah won her appeal for a vanity license plate that reads: "GAYSROK". Good for her and good for the appeals board for their sound judgment.
As expected, the creator of PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) presented a paper at the Black Hat conference outlining his plan for encrypting VoIP service. His code will be released next month. Initially it will be designed to work with an open source VoIP software. It is hoped that other companies will pick up on the idea and begin to secure our transmissions. I'm happy to see this is getting some attention. I use a VoIP (SunRocket), but I'd like to feel as if someone could not listen into my conversations easily.
Quite possibly, this site on the history of the 1967 Detroit and Newark uprisings is of interest only to me. Having lived in Detroit and it's environs for a number of years, I find the history fascinating. This was a seminal moment in the history of that city and one that has shaped the politics of that region since. The site presents a fairly balanced view of the subject. Anyone interested in the "turbulent" 60s, race relations, urban plight might also be interested.
Now for some Friday artwork. Jenny Hart presents portraits of people in embroidery. Warning: some of the portraits are not necessarily safe for work (as if embroidered tits were going to cause the world to fall apart).
For the Tiki-licious amongst you, and I know you're out there, please take the time to explore Kooch E-Koo. It's fabulous. The picture at the top of this post was borrowed from the site.
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Gaze at the beautiful art of Mexican illustrator Federico Jordán.
Michael Palin's travel books are now online to read for free. The bummer is that they are in HTML pages, rather than downloads, but it's still nice to have access to them.
Want to publicly protest NYC subway searches? Try these nifty back packs with the Fourth Amendment printed on them along with the phrase, "I do not consent to this search!" Or, in a different twist, try the matching thong underwear with the phrase, "I consent to this search!" (via Boing Boing)
Richard Renaldi and his partner have taken photographs of themselves in hotel rooms that they've stayed in around the world over the past 6 years. Many of the photos are quite beautiful and offer an intimate look into a portion of their lives. Warning, NWS (not work safe). Check out some of Renaldi's other work (under "projects").
And I leave you with this commentary on DRM, Microsoft, and Intel. Here's a quote:
Intel has handed the keys to the digital media kingdom to several convicted monopolists who have no care at all for their customers. The excuse Intel gives you if you ask is that they are producing tools, and only tools, their use is not up to Intel. The problem here is that Intel has given the said tools to some of the most rapacious people on earth.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
The email from Archie reminded me of this fond story, which I haven't told in years. I shared it with Matt in the office, but while he appreciated the tale, he asked me how old I was (mid 20s) and then just stared at me as if something wasn't computing in his brain. Shawn gave me more satisfaction when I told the story to her as she laughed and has come to expect such things from me.
Still, there is a serious issue to be addressed with the reaction some cities are having to the London Bombings. Um, folks, such searches aren't likely to prevent terrorist attacks. The terrorists have infinite targets and many delivery methods. In short, they have the advantage. You can never know where they will target and you cannot protect every site. Terrorists, on the other paw, know exactly what they're targets are and can take the time to plan it out just so.
This isn't to say that we should be scared and hide and nothing should be done. Rather, we should use our resources wisely and target those resources to where they'll be the most effective. We should concentrate on investigating, infiltrating, and prosecuting the terrorists. We should next concentrate on our emergency response preparedness for terrorist attacks. We should not curb our liberties or waste our energy on efforts that will reveal little, if any, results.
In short, if we target our resources to say, frisking people entering subway stations, a well prepared terrorist will just switch targets to say, a concert. If we focus on cell phones as being the trigger of the bombs, then the well prepared terrorist will just switch to another triggering device. This sort of targeting is chasing our tails and to what end? We don't want to allow cell phone usage on airplanes or in subways (although, in both cases, they proved useful to the "good people")? We want to invade the privacy of 20% of individuals who have committed no crime and have provided no cause for the search (thus tossing aside the Constitution)?
For those who want to travel the NYC subway and not submit to a search, here's a website reminding you of your rights. Read it. Use it - or not, but be aware of what your rights are and remember, these policies aren't helping, but they are eroding your democracy.
Several items struck a note with me, but I probably won't give them their proper due here. One thing ayo said was that her Brown Alumni group in Portland used to invite her to all of their functions. If she wore pink to the function, people in the group would say things like, "damali, you're so colorful." It reminded me of my college radio days when the station manager, Jon Moshier, and I would riff on my radio show about upper class suburban white males and I'd say something like, "I like those African Americans. They're such colorful people" and Jon would lose it on the air.
Another thing damali ayo talked about was the way that some people will walk up to black people and just begin touching their hair. This is an odd thing to me. While I don't have the same boundary issues many people have, I find it odd that people feel the right to walk up and rub my bald head without asking. I'm not offended, by any means, but it's an interesting concept as I wonder if these people would react just as casually if I went up and began feeling their hair. No doubt, some wouldn't care, but I'm sure that some would. Anyhow, this is apparently a common issue amongst black people. I found myself shocked to realize this. It then made me think (with humor, mind you) about a t-shirt that I have: it's from the drunknmunky folks and it features a brown skinned kid in a judo outfit with a big afro. One of the cool things about the shirt is that the Afro is textured in that there is a piece of fuzzy material attached to the shirt. Many people over the years have commented that they like the shirt. A few people have asked to touch the 'fro. Some of that few have even reached out and just started stroking it - over counters, bars, at restaurants. It's crazy to have someone just reach out and start petting your chest, only they are really petting the Afro on your t-shirt. After hearing damali ayo speak, I'm wondering - is it just the fabric they are touching or are they really desiring to touch a black person's hair?
Anyhow, if you see the book, then pick it up and take a look at it. If you get a chance to see damali ayo read from the book, then go see her. Los Angeles was the first stop on her tour and Seattle was the second stop. She's in Portland tonight, then she heads for the Midwest and east coast. More details here.
Monday, July 25, 2005
While we're on the subject of phalluses, here are some Japanese condom wrappers to look at. They are much more fun (and some are hysterical) compared to the packaging of condoms in America.
And, after you're done with that one hour stand and are driving home, smoking on a cigarette, be happy that you don't live in New Jersey where one legislator has proposed a ban on driving while smoking.
Secure Flight is a disaster in every way. The TSA has been operating with complete disregard for the law or Congress. It has lied to pretty much everyone. And it is turning Secure Flight from a simple program to match airline passengers against terrorist watch lists into a complex program that compiles dossiers on passengers in order to give them some kind of score indicating the likelihood that they are a terrorist.
...But using commercial data has serious privacy implications, which is why Congress mandated all sorts of rules surrounding the TSA testing of commercial data -- and more rules before it could deploy a final system -- rules that the TSA has decided it can ignore completely.
...My fear is that TSA has already decided that they’re going to use commercial data, regardless of any test results. And once you have commercial data, why not build a dossier on every passenger and give them a risk score? So we're back to CAPPS-II, the very system Congress killed last summer. Actually, we're very close to TIA (Total/Terrorism Information Awareness), that vast spy-on-everyone data-mining program that Congress killed in 2003 because it was just too invasive.
If you're interested in privacy concerns, especially involving government entities, please read the complete text of Schneier's post. I also urge you to read the links to the report(s) her recommends in that post. It's good information and it should give everyone a reason to pause and think about where this is heading. Your officials in office have been implementing this program. While some of it makes a great deal of sense, the debate about the efficacy of such programs or how they are implemented has, largely, been beneath the radar screen of most people.
Friday evening Shawn went out to work with a friend on her website for graduation. She's at least a year away from finishing, but seeing how schoolwork takes up her free time during the rest of the year, Shawn thought she'd get a start on things this summer. It's a smart plan. I filled my night by preparing apricots for more jam, setting some apricots aside for eating and giving away, cleaning up the house a little, and reading.
Saturday began a tad overcast, but the rain stayed away and redeemed the weather forecasters in the area. By afternoon it was sunny and warm with nary a cloud in the sky. We were having friends, Michael and Heather, by for their birthdays. Michael's was Saturday and Heather's was Sunday. They were hoping to celebrate their birthdays with a camping trip to Deception Pass, but plans fell through when they found out that there were no campsites available. Shawn and I discussed it and offered up our house and BBQ to those on the initial invites. We were happy when Michael called to accept.
Saturday morning and early afternoon found us scrambling to get everything ready. We finished cleaning house, bought a Bundt pan for a cake, made apricot jam and canned it, made baba ganoush, prepared a black bean salad, and got the BBQ going. Oh, and Shawn made that cake - a Grand Marnier Cake with Chocolate bits and it was terribly delicious. Michael called before he left the house to announce that he was picking up an ice cream cake, but we didn't get the message in time, so she made one anyhow. Heck, she wanted to make the cake and just was looking for the right excuse. Besides, she had to try out her new Bundt pan!
The party went well. Michael and Heather brought Rowan. Another couple brought their child as well. It was a small gathering. Having the children around kept the party under control - less drinking, lower volume levels on the stereo. It was good seeing some of Michael and Heather's other friends - something we seem to do every couple of years - though we missed out on seeing Leslie and her fiancé. The party wrapped up around 9 or so. Shawn and I finished cleaning up the kitchen and running the dishwasher around 10:30.
Sunday was the day to go out for sushi with Heather and Michael for their birthday. We didn't make it, sadly. It was a beautiful day and we were tired and wanted to relax around the house. Before breakfast, I got outside and attended to lawn mowing - the mowing I originally thought that I'd do on Friday. Shawn worked in the garden and picked peas and more zucchini. We relaxed on the back porch together and discussed plans for the rest of the day. After breakfast, we went out to see "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory". It was a good film in a lot of ways, though no better than the first film; just different. I enjoyed Johnnie Depp's performance and still am wondering who really thinks it had any basis in Michael Jackson. To my mind, I saw references to several kid show hosts, but never MJ.
On the way out of the film we found that Shawn had gotten sun burn again in the morning. For someone who has spent years properly chastising me to put sunscreen on my bald head, she still hasn't seemed to get the message herself. Poor thing. Lots of aloe for her for a few days.
We left the movie theater and went to Duvall to buy liquor. Sunday was the first day in decades that Washington state allowed liquor stores to open on a Sunday. Not all stores are open yet. Currently, private contracted stores can apply to be open and Duvall's was one of 35 to apply and receive permission. The state will open 20 of it's stores on Sundays beginning in September. We wanted to demonstrate our approval of the law change as well as show our support for Duvall's business by going down and spending some money at their store. Shawn got a bottle of Lillet and a bottle of Stoli Peach vodka.
The evening was spent cooking. I helped Shawn make a cake - a spice cake rather than the Grand Marnier one - and some cookies. Shawn had left over egg whites from a previous recipe that we needed to use up. Between doing that and working dinner in and doing some reading, my weekend was done. All in all, it was very pleasant.
Friday, July 22, 2005
1) Stan Ridgeway - "As I Went Out One Morning"
Lots of Stan Ridgeway this week. Not that this is a problem. Bi the way, his new album with his band, Drywall, comes out the second week of August.
2) dj BC and the Beastles - "Mad World Forever"
Yep, before djBC did the mashup of Philip Glass versus hip hop artists, he did this one of the Beatles versus the Beastie Boys. It has it's moments.
3) Habib Koite - "Kanawa" (live)
I can listen to him forever. His live album is definitely his best.
4) Frank O'Hara - Ode to Joy, To Hell With It
5) Ozomatli - "Dejame En Paz"
Playing in Seattle with Los Lonely Boys later this month. To my mind, that was the best line up for the shows on South Lake Union this year. Ozomatli will blow people's minds. Their last album was fantastic.
6) Afrocelts - "Ayub's Song/As You Were"
From their album, "Seed" and when they decided to be known by this name rather than the Afro Celt Sound System.
7) Ishmael Reed - "Sky Diving"
8) NOWMASH - "Freaky No.5"
Mixing Missy Elliott with the song "Mambo No. 5" Pretty good.
9) Everything But The Girl - "Corcovado"
EBTG has been appearing a lot in my playlists. I need to get other artists on the 'puter.
10) E-Smoove - "The Guitar"
I only had difficulty downloading one track, but as Xeni's update notes, you can go to the root directory and get any tracks you have difficulty with.
Madness have a new album out next month. The first one in years and my preliminary listening leads me to say it sounds better than they had on the last couple of albums. The fun ska boys are back.
Counterterrorism is most effective when it doesn't make arbitrary assumptions about the terrorists' plans. Stop searching bags on the subways, and spend the money on 1) intelligence and investigation -- stopping the terrorists regardless of what their plans are, and 2) emergency response -- lessening the impact of a terrorist attack, regardless of what the plans are. Countermeasures that defend against particular targets, or assume particular tactics, or cause the terrorists to make insignificant modifications in their plans, or that surveil the entire population looking for the few terrorists, are largely not worth it.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
1) Curtis Mayfield - Junkie Chase (Full Length)
Gotta love the funk created by Curtis. Top notch beginning to the list.
2) Joseph Arthur - Speed of Light (Live in Seattle)
Official bootleg recording bought after the show and burned to disc in front of me by Arthur's tour guy. Very good show. Nice promo to sell copies of the show you just witnessed.
3) David Bowie - Red Money
From "The Lodger". An under-rated record by Bowie, IMHO.
4) Everything But The Girl - Before Today (Adam F Remix)
Classy remix from the latest remix album by EBTG.
5) ccc - Got To Get You In The Mood (yep, Glen Miller versus The Beatles mashup)
Not my favorite mash up by this person, but not bad either.
6) 2 Many DJs - Radio Soulwax 13
An hour long set. These guys are really good at mash ups.
7) Sade - By Your Side (Ben Watt Lazy Dog Remix)
Remixed by Ben Watt of Everything But The Girl and included on one of the discs of his Lazy Dog project.
8) Charles Stein - Seed Poem
From Giorno Poetry Systems.
9) Pine AM - gymnopedie 0.1
Downloaded from a music blog...not bad...
10) Bebel Gilberto - Simplesmente
I could listen to Bebel for hours.
We began reading the latest Harry Potter book last night. Like the masses, I picked up a copy on Saturday. Fred Meyer's had one when I went there during the afternoon, so I didn't stand in line or go to the midnight parties. The BBC today reports that the book sold nearly 9 million copies in the first 24 hours in the U.S. and U.K. This shatters the previous record, held by the last Potter book, of 5 million copies in the first 24 hours. Pretty damn amazing that this series has grown that much in popularity.
Doron's blaagh has an amusing report on a website calling itself, DOM Scripting Task Force. As Doron writes:
Feministing yesterday reports on an AP article that notes that birth control patches are 3 times more likely to cause dangerous blood clots than birth control pills. The number is still very small, but it is giving some women cause to think about the delivery method.
Here's a small QuickTime video of Iggy Pop and David Bowie on the Dinah Shore show. The look on Bowie's face when Iggy tells of cutting himself with glass is amusing.
If you're a woman and you're having difficulty finding the right position that provides complete satisfaction from your pleasure partner going down on you, then perhaps you should try The Fun Stool. Then again, maybe you should invest in pillows.
Monday, July 18, 2005
I woke from my nap on the sofa Friday just in time for the arrival of Shawn's mother. A family function on Saturday brought her up to stay with us Friday night. It's always nice to have a visit from Debbie. Shawn brought a pizza home for dinner and trailed her mom by about 30 minutes.
After breakfast on Saturday, Shawn and Debbie went off to the family function: a wedding anniversary for Debbie's brother, Derry. I chose not to go to this party. Large family functions are not my thing. They are definitely a part of Shawn's family experience.
While Shawn and Debbie headed north, my plans took me east across the mountains to Peshastin (just past Leavenworth). I made my first trip of the year to the Hauff family farms. Helen Hauff is a sweet woman who, for reasons only she would know, has decided that she likes Shawn and I. My goal for this trip was to buy some apricots from Helen. There were apricots, but she didn't have any cases displayed and no pricing for one. Had I come too late, I wondered? I sure hope not. Shawn's run around telling everyone that they are going to get apricot jam for Xmas this year. Plus, I had recently made an apricot tart with the jam I made last year and baked it in a hazelnut crust flavored with a touch of orange. Shawn was crazy about this dessert and I had enough jam to make one more, so I wanted more apricots to make more jam so we could enjoy this throughout the rest of this year.
Before I got to the counter, I noticed that Helen had cherries. Every fruit stand in the state has them this time of year. Helen had Bings and Rainiers from Wenatchee. She was only charging a dollar per pound. I snagged several pounds of them.
When I got to the counter, I asked Helen about the apricots. "Yes, dear, I've got them. They came in fresh this morning. They're out in the cooler. I haven't even had time yet to put up a sign. Since you're buying all of this, I'll give you the same price for everything: a dollar per pound." Sold. I took 2 cases of apricots, plus another bag of apricots, a bag each of Rainier and Bing cherries, and a 10 pound bag of Walla Walla onions. Sure, I was nearly $70 lighter, but it was going to be so good.
Traffic was terrible in the mountains. I got caught behind several slow vehicles. They were easily passable when we reached passing lanes, but it made for a long trip home. It was 4 PM when I settled into the house. No time to work on the apricots. I made the tart, though, in case Debbie and Shawn wanted some when they came home. As it turned out, they didn't get in until after 10.
We had breakfast Sunday in Snohomish. Debbie left and went to visit her brothers. Shawn and I went home. Shawn played in the yard and garden while I set about dealing with the apricots. I nearly filled our 13 quart stock pot, then added sugar to it to macerate the apricots. I still hadn't used up a case by this point. Next, I sliced up some apricots and put them on the food dehydrator. OK. One case was gone. I still have another case to work with. The good news is that I've been canning long enough now that I have plenty of jars to work with. I ran to Fred Meyer's and got some lids - a small expense. I also grabbed some dairy items to make ice cream with.
It was a hot day in Monroe - mid 80s - and Shawn had the idea to make ice cream. She hadn't done it yet and she was worried about the process. We used a Martha Stewart recipe for vanilla ice cream, but then added a bit of Frangelico and a little Grand Marnier. While Shawn and Debbie, who returned to us in the early evening, worked on dinner, I ran the ice cream maker. I also caramelized onions and made mujadarrah (lentils, rice, caramelized onions). It was a terrific meal and a good time.
I'm home today - planning my assault on the remaining apricots. It's supposed to be another warm day, though not as warm as yesterday. I like canning and cooking a lot. It's relaxing for me. Globe peaches will be in next month and that will necessitate another trip to visit Helen Hauff. We also need to stop and pick blueberries this year for freezing. Yum.
Tucked within Missouri Senate Bill 280, now awaiting Governor Matt Blunt's signature, is a single sentence that's sure to have repercussions at poolside chaises and in steamy backseats across the state: "The written informed consent of a minor's parent or legal guardian... must be obtained prior to providing body waxing on or near the genitalia."
Thursday, July 14, 2005
It seems that the security effort at the National Archives is directed towards preventing people from removing documents.
In the second story, the BBC has this headline today: "Clinton Wades Into GTA Sex Storm". They are referring to Hillary Clinton, of course, which makes me want to add the following sub-header: "Lesbian overtones ensue; raincoats optional". (It's just a joke, folks). Seriously, this is exactly the type of non-issue politicians love to grandstand about. The public outcry will cause the game maker to deal with the issue appropriately therefore the politician is adding nothing to the resolution. It's also to be expected that Senator Clinton would speak on it, given her reported political aspirations (which I support, mind you) and her and her husband's track record. Remember, Mrs. Gore wanted to censor albums.
Basically, Geotagging allows the user to add tags (or keywords) to their photos that locate on a map where said picture was taken. This allows viewers of the photograph to get an idea of where on the globe the photo was shot. It adds more information which may or may not be relevant to the viewer.
To the geek in me, this is just plain cool. After figuring out that Zone Alarm was blocking my cookies, I spent about a half hour tagging several of my recent Oregon holiday photos. If you open the photos to the largest size and look in the description, it will say "Geotagged". Clicking that link will bring up another site which will look up the data and place it on the map.
Shawn, a keywording goddess, had the reaction that I expected: "I'm very happy for you, dear." Which is to say that she appreciates the geek out, but not the results. To her mind, this is a metadata abomination. Too much information that is likely to be useless and irrelevant in the future. I explained, "I don't care. It's new, it's cool, and I'm just having fun."
Luckily, I spent some time chatting in IM with Kris about this before Shawn got home. Kris was enthusiastic as she was aware of this before I wrote her. Naturally, she provided me with the reinforcement I was looking for in this and I acknowledged such, knowing that the keywording goddess was not likely to do so. Thanks, Kris.
Flickr has a Geotagging forum for further info.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
It's been a movie weekend for us. On Friday, Shawn sent me to the video store to pick up some rentals. We enjoyed The Aquatic Life With Steve Sissou (more, I admit, than I thought that I would - thank you to Annie for the recommendation), A Dirty Shame by John Waters featuring Tracey Ullman (very good film), and loved Bad Education by Almodovar.
Monday, July 11, 2005
By the time we left Sunday morning, we were already a day late. Saturday morning was our original target for slipping out of town and over the Cascades, but it was not meant to be. Shawn, she who becomes list queen and worries over minute details when camping and hiking, got home late in the evening Friday and had been so busy at work, she hadn't yet tabulated the list featuring the number of lists she would need to feel good about leaving town. I, who becomes spontaneity and adventure king and who, probably would be eaten by a cougar on a trail because I don't make lists, therefore suggested to Shawn that we not rush and instead take off Sunday. The idea is to relax, after all. Shawn felt god about this and set about compiling lists on Friday evening while I just sat around and waited for the results of the lists on Saturday. After we gathered most everything together on Saturday, the list queen made an announcement: the list queen would like to make it known that she wanted to take time to sit and read books and would be completely about relaxing on this trip. However, the list queen also placed a disclaimer in her pronouncement when she noted that relaxing would be "the way we like to relax". Therefore, it will come as little surprise later when you note that there was very little book reading on this trip for the list queen. I however, who is always he who rises early (and often) in the day, would get much reading done.
The skies were grey and misting when we left Sunday morning. Knowing that we were heading towards sunshine and mid 80s made it easier to motive Shawn to get up and hit the road early. We stopped at our usual spot in Index to have breakfast. We made good time passing through Leavenworth, Peshastin, and Ellensburg. In Yakima, we paused for coffee and Shawn changed into shorts and I took over driving. Not long after the town of Yakima, we saw the first signs of the Yakima reservation, indeed, most any reservation in Washington and Oregon: fireworks sellers and shanty shacks. South of the reservation, along the Columbia River separating Oregon and Washington, Shawn had me stop at a replica of Stonehenge. This was built by a wealthy businessman in Washington state as a war memorial to 13 men from that county who died during Vietnam. Stonehenge sits on a peak overlooking the Columbia and Oregon and is free to visit. It's one of the windiest spots along the Columbia and is an area where a lot of wind surfers come to play and train.
Driving into Oregon we passed through miles of wheat fields. Acres and acres of rolling hills of wheat for, literally, as far as the eye can see. When we reached Redmond, Oregon (near our destination), it was around 5PM. Both of us were tired. I cracked a lame, rather crass joke about the filling station chain named "Towne Pump" which Shawn laughed at, but commented, "If I didn't know you, I'd be appalled at that comment." "I only share them with you, love"
We drove into the small town of Sisters shortly afterwards and could barely make out the Three Sisters mountains. It was another 15 miles to our lodgings along the Metolius River. The Metolius River is prime fly fishing territory. It winds through the Deschutes National Forest near Black Butte. As part of the forest, there is no hunting allowed and fishing is strictly catch and release. This side of the Cascades, the forest is filled with tall pine trees which smell so wonderful the moment you get into them. Of course, there are plenty of other critters roaming the forest, some of which are best to avoid. We got to the Metolius Lodge at just after 6PM. The clerk told us that we were lucky he was still around. He checked us in and told us which cabin was our place to stay and how we should park. The cabin was much more than I expected. All new appliances, a wood burning stove with a full supply of wood to burn, if we wanted (it had central heat), cookware, dishes, utensils. The bedrooms were small, but that was fine. The river ran by the cabin about 20 yards behind us. There were grills (charcoal and gas) for us to use out back and a deck with chairs to sit in that overlooked the river. There were also trails around the area which, sadly, we never got to use as I wanted to.
After breakfast the next morning, we drove down to Bend, Oregon to go to an Outlet Mall. Not my idea of a good time, but Shawn wanted to stop there. Bend had changed a lot since Shawn had been there previously and she didn't know where the mall was. After some pointless driving around where I was once again reminded that Shawn is the man of our couple in that she won't stop and ask for directions, I declared, "I must stop and pee" and led us to a visitor's bureau. We had passed the bureau earlier. I had pointed it out in hopes that we would stop and use the bathroom there, but Shawn was focused and ignored my pleas for a rest stop. Of course, the bureau not only provided needed relief, but also directions to the Outlet Mall. Once at the mall, Shawn went straight to the Columbia Sportswear shop. I had not intended to buy anything, but I found jeans for work that were $10/pair. More exciting for me, however, was that said jeans noted that I had dropped several waist sizes thereby making me feel good about my exercise regime. Shawn go a pair of shorts and a nice top. Next it was to the Levis store (more jeans, but for personal use), then out of town for the High Desert Museum.
The High Desert Museum is a neat place. For the most part, it is a series of trails that highlight the flora, fauna and wildlife of the region. It also serves to tell some of the history of Native Americans, settlers, and the forestry service. Our camera batteries had died while we were there otherwise we'd have more pictures of it other than the train cars and covered wagon. It was fun watching children being awed by a young bobcat that was there. They also had 2 Mustang horses there that had been captured from the wild just 9 months prior - magnificent looking animals, though I wanted to set them free.
The next day was our trip to the Newberry Volcanic Monument. We began by purchasing a day pass at the visitor's center and hiking the 1 mile trail in that area. We forgot the camera in the car while there, so no pictures. Not much to see there, but it's an introduction to the park. From there, we drove about 26 miles south then 15 miles west to the crater where the pictures of Paulina Lake and East Lake are from. The Obsidian Trail hike is only about a mile long, but it's really amazing. Not only do you see the obsidian rocks, but also a couple of different types of Pumice in huge quantities. I told Shawn that I wanted to go to Paulina's Peak next. It didn't seem to interest her much, but she placated me. The drive up (one lane with turn outs) scared the daylights out of me as Shawn was driving and was worried about other cars, so she refused to hang out in the middle of the road. I was good though and only asked her to move to the center once, then clammed up and cut circulation to my fingers by clasping the back of her head rest. Once we were up at the Peak, however, it was clear to both of us that it was worth it. The views, as you can see from our pictures are incredible. Unlike others, we stayed up there for almost an hour. I convinced Shawn that, even though the guide said that the half mile hike there was "difficult", we could easily do it. She was wary, but she followed me to the next point where we could see the Paulina Lake Lodge.
On the way back from the hike, we passed a fellow in his late 60s. He had a huge smile on his face and was practically running over the snow as fast as we had been on the way out. He greeted us well enough, but was clearly focused on getting to the next view. After we had passed, we heard him call, "Hey guys! Come on over here. The hike isn't bad at all" He was answered by a woman standing in the parking lot with 2 men: "No, thanks, Bob." When we got to the parking lot, the woman was staring at the man who had made it to the same spot we had just been in. We learned that his name was Bob. "Look at him, the show off! OK, Bob, that's enough. Why don't you come on back, now?" She turned to us and said that if we took a picture of him, she'd give us her contact and would we send her the picture. Sure...no problem. We cried out to Bob who waved back and we took his picture. Rather than come back, he took the time to admire the view. The woman in the lot screamed, "I'm glad you're going back to your wife. Mary can have you!" Mary, as it turns out, is her sister. Mary and Bob flew out for a family reunion, but Mary doesn't like these sorts of trips, so she flew back to Minnesota while Bob decided to take a few weeks and drive back, stopping along the way as he wished.
Our final destination for the day was the Volcanic Forest. Shawn thought that this was going to be some sort of petrified forest, but instead what it did was highlight the molds of trees made by lava cooling around them. The trees have long since decayed leaving tubes of lava, horizontal and vertical ones, in their place. Pretty cool. It's a short hike, but not terribly exciting. Still, you have to drive about 10 miles across pot holed forestry service roads to get there, so we were in no rush to leave. Well, I wasn't. Shawn might of been since on this portion of the trip, I began singing again. See, the nights at the lodge were weird in that there was no radio. I have no problems being without television or phones, but I'm used to having music around me. The first night in the lodge, I mentioned this to Shawn and she suggested I sing her a tune. I thought that she was joking - surely she didn't want to hear my voice, but she declared otherwise. The poor suffering woman must have gone tone deaf listening to me sing in the car over the years. I asked for a request and she didn't place one. "Sing what first comes to your mind." At this point, I began in on a tune by Sweet Honey In The Rock which had been bouncing around in my head since my friend, Annie, was in town: "Women Should Be A Priority". To makes things better (or worse), it's an a capella rap tune. Shawn, much to my surprise, was delighted. She was less delighted when, while walking the trail through the Volcanic Forest, I began singing a version of a Led Zeppelin tune: "Got A Whole Lava Love" Eventually, she joined in which seemingly distressed a couple that came upon us while Shawn was doing the guitar solo.
That night was to be our last night in the lodge, so we discussed where to go to next. Shawn ruled out camping near East Lake. She had had her fill of the highlands and wanted to go to the coast. I suggested going to Port Orford (the first city I stopped in coming through Oregon towards Seattle). This didn't fit into Shawn's plans. A night's rest, however, and Shawn had changed her mind. We could drive all day and spend the night north of Port Orford in Bandon State Park (30 miles north) IF we stopped in Myrtle Creek and see her grandmother. Deal. Back through the Cascades to I-5. We got to Myrtle Creek around 2PM. We had a painless visit with her kooky grandmother who, despite some eccentric behavior, I admire for her spirit and agility. Just after 3, we were back on the road. It took nearly 2 hours to get to Bandon, but some of that time was spent off of the main roads driving through farm country. The state park was so cush that it was unbelievable. Each camp site had water and electrical hookups, a fire pit, and a picnic table. Plus, they had showers for each of 3 sections. The showers had hot water. Plus, we came to find out, there was a small stage and entertainment by a folk duo. We pitched our tent and got the sleeping bags set up. I got the camp stove out and began dinner. Our camping neighbors, they who would purchase RVs costing in the 6 figures the size of which, once fully extended, was larger than my first apartment, were dumbfounded when, drawn by the smell of our meal, they came to find out we were having linguine with red clam sauce, salad with Gorgonzola cheese and a roasted red pepper dressing, and a bottle of 1996 Oregon Pinot Noir. LOL! I knew what sort of places we'd be staying and how we were really camping as in out in the woods with no shops around for miles, etc. Heck, they are the ones in the RVs. I was making good with a propane camp stove. Suddenly, my neighbors were very friendly.
We drove to Port Orford early the next morning. I bought Shawn breakfast in the same restaurant that I had my first Oregon meal in. The restaurant is nothing special. It is a throw back to an old diner (complete with the waitress uniforms) which in this place is sincere (unlike a Denny's which is trying a theme). The Wheelhouse does have one major selling point, however: Port Orford's beach. Just jaw droppingly beautiful. It was a sunny, windy day with highs in the mid 60s (similar to what I experienced 12 years prior). We walked down to the beach. It was nearly empty. Batteries were fresh in the camera. We each took a lot of pictures and we walked a long way. Intending to cross to where some kids were tide pooling, we found a river that emptied into the ocean blocked our path. It was wider and deeper than we expected. Walking up the river, looking for a crossing point, we found the banks shielding us from the wind. Shawn lied down on a log and promptly fell asleep. I lied down as well, but took pictures. We were still long enough that a goldfinch flew to within 5 feet of me and began to feed. Sadly, while I was wearing a hat, I hadn't put on any sunblock, so the back of my neck was getting burned. Shawn was in the same predicament. We headed back after about an hour, playing and snapping shots along the way. After about 4 hours, Shawn and I headed back to Bandon where apparently it had been overcast all morning.
We went to the Bandon Cheese factory which no longer makes cheeses since it was bought by Tillamook, but it does have a gift shop. A young clerk there looked mystified, as if they had ever made cheese there, when Shawn mentioned to him that the former cheese maker now had his own shop in Seattle (damn good cheese, too). A comely young woman helped us out by giving us a "tour" of the cheese samples. We bought. She smiled....at Shawn. Shawn missed it. *smirk* We went through the tourist trap "Old Town" area of Bandon and eventually decided that we were hungry and would also like a drink. The restaurants in the tourist trap charged New York City prices for meals. We left, drove around, eventually spotting a restaurant ("There one is," I cried "That building next to the Miller beer truck"). The Bandon Boatworks bar and restaurant not only makes a very good Manhattan, they don't charge Manhattan prices for their excellent food. I had an almond encrusted halibut (at least 1 pound) topped with a honey mustard dill sauce served with perfectly cooked veggies and a salad for $16. Shawn settled on the coconut prawns served with an Asian peanut sauce and a cocktail sauce with the same veggies and salad for the same price. Score!
The next morning, I made Amaranth pancakes with maple syrup and campfire coffee. Our neighbor made it out just in time to snag a pancake before his wife and kids woke. We then packed up and hit the road up the coast. The Cape Argo state park was another place that Shawn had wanted to take me for years. The pictures of the formal and Japanese gardens are from there - gorgeous. I fell asleep on the secluded beach near the gardens, but this time I had sun block on. Up the road further, we stopped at Florence and walked around. The Funky Monkey (and they were playing funk music when we walked in) toy store provided us with a couple of birthday gifts for Ginger.Eventually, we made it to Shawn's other grandmother's place in Lincoln City. We spent 2 nights with her, doing some house work and cooking for her. We took a walk on the beach there with Shawn's aunt, Candy. When we left Sunday morning, we had already decided that we'd go home that evening. The plan was to stay at friend's, Rick and Carol, house in Portland after a birthday party for Shawn's stepfather and 2 other friends, but we needed a day in the house to ourselves.
On the way across the mountains, Shawn snapped at me for some silly reason. It was the closest thing we had to a spat on the entire trip. I think her blood sugar was low. We got to Salem and went to see Ginger, who had her brother Bruce with her. Bruce is looking pretty good. Ginger, clean now for 8 months and attending nightly NA meetings, is looking a LOT better. We took them for breakfast and gave Ginger her birthday presents. A couple of hours later, as we said our goodbyes, Ginger apologized to me for the way she treated me when I was down the prior year. We kissed and hugged and that didn't really matter because it's just good to see her looking so healthy again. She's got a long way to go, but she's making the right steps.
We stopped in Portland for me to buy some books. Several times recently, I've come across references to Kafka's work, so, taking this as a sign, I bought a used compilation of stories. I also picked up a used copy of "Applied Cryptography" (I told Bruce it was my light reading; Kafka, dealing with the human condition, is far heavier than numbers and codes) and Orhan Pamuk's new book which is a tour of Istanbul through the author's memories. Next it was off to the birthday party: 3 friends turning 60 this year. It was good to see everyone. Dave, Rick, and Carol all gave good hugs, as usual. Shawn's stepfather barely grunted at either of us for most of the night. When he did say something to me it was to impress upon me that the person I had spent a great deal of time chatting with was worth several million dollars - as if that would impress me (insert eye roll). I stole some minutes for myself to go down to the creek running behind the house and meditated on a deck next to the bank. Before leaving, Rick had us join in on a gag he wanted to pull on the birthday boys: Sing Happy Birthday to them then shower them with water from squirt guns (family tradition of sorts). Shawn and I then said our goodbyes and I drove us home that night. It was a good vacation. We accomplished some things that Shawn has wanted to show me in Oregon for years. As I said, I got some reading done (finished Orhan Pamuk's "The Black Book" and started another book) and we had a lot of relaxing moments. Shawn rarely read at all, but she got to show off Oregon to me and to revisit some favorite places.
Sunday, July 10, 2005
Microsoft has posted some free SQL Server 2005 training courses which will be up for the next 90 days. Take advantage of them if you can use them.
The Guardian UK has posted the results of a study on the use of emergency contraceptives. There's nothing surprising in these results, really. They just confirm what rational people have said about it's use since it's introduction. Once again, I'm left wondering why government should be actively involved in a woman making this medical decision for herself. A couple of choice quotes:
But a study published in the British Medical Journal last week shows there was no change in contraception use levels after the emergency pill became available over the counter four years ago.
Family planning experts said the study provided a strong argument for giving it free of charge in chemists to anyone who needed it.
...'These results suggest the predicted rise in unsafe sex has been overstated and supports the case for lifting the ban on over-the-counter sales in America and other countries,' said lead researcher Dr Cicely Marston.
Saturday, July 09, 2005
The random mp3 list for the week (put your player on random and take the first ten tracks):
1) William S Burroughs - "From Here To Eternity" from Exterminator
I've got loads of Bill Burroughs on my PC. He's someone I can listen to for days and one of my favorite writers.
2) Yusef Lateef - "Blues For The Orient"
I found out about Yusef Lateef by accident. I came across this album online and liked it enough to buy it. It's a great record featuring some wonderful sax and flute solos.
3) Panjabi MC - "Jindi Mahi"
From the man credited with bringing Indian beats to the masses in dance records. This is a little more traditional.
4) Cabaret Voltaire - "Golden Halos"
From the grand old masters of noise dance. I love this band in most of it's phases. Whenever I walk away from them for some time, I come back and remember just how influential they were to dance and electronic music.
5) Asian Dub Foundation - "Powerlines"
Electronic music from one of the most prominent members of the Asian Underground scene. This is from their latest album, which is good.
6) Petit Jazz - Petit Jazz
I got this from a music blog site featuring African Music (Benn loxo du taccu). He doesn't even know who the artist is, so I made it eponymous. It's a great Congolese tune.
7) Bebel Gilberto - "Up Up And Away"
Easily the worst tune from Bebel Gilberto's latest album, which only makes it better than many, many other artists.
8) DJ Danger Mouse - "99 Problems"
From the acclaimed mash up of the Beatles versus JayZ. This is one of the better tracks on the album, despite JayZ's sexist rap.
9) Prozak For Lovers - "Aqualung"
Prozak For Lovers takes rock tunes and puts them to Bossa Nova and Samba beats in a mellow and inventive fashion. The re-working of this old Jethro Tull tune is quite nice.
10) Gotan Project - "Santa Maria (Del Buen Ayre)"
The famed team living in Paris from their latest album mixing tango with modern dance music.
Friday, July 08, 2005
Thursday, July 07, 2005
In the meantime, amuse yourself, if it is your will, with this collection of X-Rated movie posters from the 60s and 70s. Sexcellent!
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
From a privacy advocate's standpoint, this is analogous to the Valerie Plame case. Plame had her identity stolen by a hacker (albeit a political one, but a hacker none the less). It was passed onto a fence who used it for profit (reporters). Both the hacker and the reporters have committed a crime. Apparently, Bob Novak and Matthew Cooper have avoided jail time by striking a deal with prosecutors (a time honored practice in our legal system). The 4th witness to the crime, who didn't report the incident, is going to jail for impeding justice.
Am I missing something? On the one hand, I understand that these are reporters and we want them to report stories, particularly since what we're talking about is a potentially impeachable offense. On the other hand, they are supposed to be willing to go to jail to protect their sources as they know they are doing something quasi legal and it is what makes their profession if not more noble, then something above tabloid. I admire Miller for going to jail. I don't feel the same way about Cooper even if his employer set him up or if his source set him free to discuss it.
"Some days, I hate people. Most days, I hate their expectations of me."
Yea, it's one of those days. At least the rain is soothing.
Monday, July 04, 2005
In the meantime, here's what's amused me this morning:
Umair has an absolutely fascinating article about why DRM as it's currently conceived, will fail. It's a longish post, but a terrific read. To be honest, I'm still pondering it and it's ramifications. Umair argues that the economics of the analog world do not translate to the economics of the digital world and that DRM will fail due to economics regardless of whether the consumer accepts it in the short term.
So the point is that copyright (and DRM) is broken because our notion of analog property rights is totally out of sync with a digital world. In such a world, the strategic question is very different: you have to factor in benefits as well as costs. The question becomes: does your use/exchange/mod of my good cost me more than benefits me?
In a weird schism, those who love kraut rock will certainly be confused this summer as competing line-ups of a re-formed Faust play gigs this summer.
While on holiday, I finished reading Orhan Pamuk's The Black Book. As with his other books, this one is highly recommended. I place it above The White Castle and on par with His Name Is Red. I haven't finished Snow, yet, as I inadvertently left my copy while on holiday in Phoenix during Xmas, but I bought a new copy yesterday (seeing as the other one hasn't made the trip north since it's discovery). The Black Book is an exploration on identity and personality in a post modern world infused with insights into Sufism as well as Turkish culture. As soon as I finished it, I began to re-read sections of it. One day I will read it again and again and again. It is that sort of book, which is exactly why you should pick it up and read it.