This Space for Rent

Jan 31, 2007

Railroad picture of the day

A P&W train whizzes past the 11th street crossing

I was running late this morning, so I ended up having to take the #70 bus down to Milwaukie and Powell so I could transfer onto a #9 or #17 to get across the bridge into downtown. As I got off the bus, I heard a fast-approaching train blatting its horn for a nearby crossing. Fortunately for me, my Pentax was in its regular post tucked cozily into my purse, so I managed to pull it out in time to see a P&W train zip over the 11th St crossing on its way down to Brooklyn Yard and points south.

The aerial tramway is always there when I cross the Ross Island Bridge, so I have to take pictures of it.

South goes over the Gibbs tower   Two Astras wait at Gibbs St. Station

The sad thing about the LoH-style aerial tramway is that that single tower cost more than the suspension cable, North, and South did.

Life on the River (lucky#13)

This is Sunny Sunny barge!

A Ross Island Sand & Gravel tug pushes another load of Ross Island northwards on a cold and sunny January afternoon.

Cute cat photo of the day

Leo and Mavis dream of a tasty squab dinner while watching a pigeon wandering around on the front lawn.

Brooklyn Yard from a different angle

An unidentified GP15 shunts a string of piggyback flats

An unidentified Yellow Menace GP15 (1027, perhaps?) shunts a string of piggyback flats at the south end of Brooklyn Yard.

Jan 30, 2007

Annoying firefox featurette of the day

The people who designed mozilla weboyster generally do a good job of it, but for some inexplicable reason they appear to really love "tabbed browsing", even on windowing systems that already know how to manage windows (really!) Every time I get a new version of moondog, I discover that the busy little gnomes in mozillaville have found even more ways to sully my user experience by stuffing new windows into tabs.

A few weeks ago, I dropped firefox 2.(something) onto one of my new laptops because the quicktime association on that machine was bolluxed and 1.0.7 would announce that situation by dumping core every time I discovered a page with quicktime goop on it. I upgraded that box to 2.(something) hoping that it would have a way for me to tell the damned browser to JUST NOT TRY TO RUN QUICKTIME!!!!, and it did. It also had some other nice features, like being able to resume crashed sessions (when you've got 12 browser windows nicely stacked up at the bottom right corner of your tty, it's a real pain to have them just evaporate) and support for -moz-column-width and -moz-column-gap css to give proper multicolumn output like G-d himself intended text to have (these two -moz-column attributes make up, all by themselves, for the evil <flash> tag.) But, because it's Mozilla Superfrog, it also has new ways for nasty tabs to insinuate themselves onto your screen.

Are they documented? Probably, somewhere in the approximately 75 million words written on the various internal mozilla design, coding, and debugging newsgroups. But that's not extraordinarily useful. Are they documented in the Waterquail public support areas? Not obviously; searching for "how to stop firefox from opening tabs" leads to many many many many web pages, all of which cheerfully tell you about ways to OPEN MORE TABS, which is not exactly what I was looking for.

The silver bullet, perhaps, to turn the latest sort of nasty tab feature off is to go into about:config and set browser.tabs.maxopenbeforewarn to zero; I'm not sure what the warning is supposed to say, because I never see it but am instead faced with a new window whenever I click on a "please open me in a new window" link.

I'd be happier, of course, if spacetuna came with a tab configuration config window that the browser actually paid attention to, but anything works as long as I don't see any of those tabs.

Jan 28, 2007

The joys of software design

The Apache web server (no, I'm not going to provide a link. It's only the most popular webserver in the world, so you can find out how to get it by the expected means) has a spiffy feature called "mod_rewrite" that can be used to convert urls from one form to another with almost no limitations.

It's pretty cool; I've been using it to keep bandwidth pirates away from my images, so I'm pretty happy with it, except for two teeny little details;

  1. The documentation sucks dead bunnies through a straw.
  2. There's no easy way to test mod_rewrite scripts without firing up the stupid webserver and randomly typing urls in to see what happens. And, because apache is apache and doesn't need to be friendly, it isn't. Until I figured out the clever trick of doing redirecting rewrites to nonexistant hostnames, I'd tweak the mod-rewrite strings over and over and over, only to get my somewhat less than helpful 404 (no file found, eh?) page.

I know that the whole web business is a mass of deliberately impenetrable standards (it's as if the people at w3c woke up one morning and realized "my god, people can actually implement this design!"), but it's still extraordinarily annoying to have the swiss army battleship of webservers sit there and pout like a second-grader when you haven't been able to figure out the right goddamn juju to make it convert /~orc/silly/wiki into /~orc/stupid.php&page=silly/wiki.

Jan 27, 2007

Oh, that’s an easy one to answer.

Mash, at Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying, has put up a post rhetorically asking WTF is the United States doing in Iraq, complete with a compare and contrast video taken in Iraq vs. part of an interview between one of Washingtons finest attack poodles(™ James Wolcott) and Darth Cheney (Darth Cheney is, of course, in full lie-­through-­his-­teeth-­make-­things-­up mode. But what else is new? If a member of the B*sh junta ever told the truth the ground would split open so Satan could reach up and bring his loyal servant home. Ahem. But I digress.)

The rhetorical question at the end of this post is "What is the United States doing in Iraq’s civil war?" The answer, of course, is "making friends and relations of the B*sh junta very very wealthy."

After all, what's a little Rwandan-class slaughter of civilians compared to the opportunity of being able to keep taking wheelbarrels of cash out of the US treasury? After all, any president can drive the United States into an unwinnable war that kills countless civilians, but the opportunity to use a slowly and carefully installed Soviet-style dictatorship to extract money beyond the dreams of avarice from the coffers of a superpower almost never comes along, and someone else already did the drive-through looting of the USSR's treasury, and if you're an evil sociopath it would be an offense before G-d to not take advantage of that opportunity.

Maximum Leader Genius, on the other hand, wouldn't even know where to find Iraq on a map. All he cares about is being able to have people tortured to death at his command, and he's already got 35000 or so victims tucked away in his little gulag.

Jan 26, 2007

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Submitted without comment.

Jan 25, 2007

Stratovolcano picture of the day

Mount Hood peeks over the trees. Picture taken at the corner of Bybee & 15th, just outside the old Sellwood Post Office.

Jan 23, 2007

Wait, let me put on my “shocked and surprised” face.

From an article in Time Magazine. First, the headline:

Ex-FEMA Chief Cites Politics in Katrina Response

And a nice quote:

Unbeknownst to me, certain people in the White House were thinking we had to federalize Louisiana because she's a white, female Democratic governor and we have a chance to rub her nose in it

(--"Heck of a Job" Brown)

No, really, I'm trying my best to be shocked and horrified that such an accusation could be made. There's certainly nothing suspicious about the federal response to the destruction of New Orleans that would make you think that politics might enter into it.

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Jan 21, 2007

A few more pictures from Saturday’s Captain Bogg & Salty concert at the Moreland Theatre

Buckle Sunny Jim, Ramshackle, and Mr. Filibuster McGraw and Ramshackle The entire band in front of an almost sold out show Buckle, Ramshackle, Sunny Jim Let me hear you say YAR! Captain Bogg

The intricacies of image processing appear to be escaping me this weekend, so I just picked seven of the best pictures (out of approximately 120 uncompressed images, and, yes, the Pentax raw image format sucks, thank you very much) so you can see pretty much what we saw (with a slight redshift) without having to wait for the heat death of the universe to force me to clean them up.


Jan 20, 2007

Silas the rock star

Silas rocks out

Let me hear you say Yar!

Captain Bogg and Salty in concert at the Moreland Theatre

I [heart] the fast prime lens on my Pentax; I didn't even try to use the flash when I went to the Captain Bogg & Salty concert this afternoon -- I just cranked the ISO up to just below the point where the sampling artifacts would leap out and strangle me (1600; the Pentax goes up to 3200, but the picture quality suffers greatly at that setting,) set the shutter speed to 1/30th second, then let the camera decide all by itself whether it was going sit, whimpering, at f1.4 or go up almost as far as f2.0.

Jan 19, 2007

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Dust Mite poses for the camera
Dust Mite helps me adjust my Pentax so I can take some concert pictures tomorrow.

Jan 18, 2007

Consider the lilies of the field domestic cat. It toils not, neither does it spin.

We are in the middle of a mouse infestation in our house. A few months ago, we heard scratching in the kitchen walls, and as winter continued the scratching moved upwards towards the attic. Recently it's become more than just scratching; in the past 24 hours, I've had to wield the executioner's 2x4 on three cute little field mice after watching our two new cats attempt to catch and eat the little things. As savage domestic predators, they're, um, not very efficient. There's not very many places a tiny little mouse can go in our bedroom (particularly after I removed the attractive laundry pile, which turned out to contain a mouse that, yes, the cats managed to completely avoid capturing until I took pity on the poor damned thing and squashed it flat) but the cats, who are very efficient and hunting down and killing lego blocks and cat toys, managed to keep missing the tiny scampering thing.

Our old cat Suzzy, before she caught terminal cancer, was a much more efficient mouser; the only times we spotted her with mice she was sitting there either batting at or looking at their small crumpled furry forms. The new cats, um, they're not quite so good. But perhaps they'll learn before the current mouse infestation goes away, because I'm getting really sick of killing mice before breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and I'd much pass the job off to a creature that would consider a dead mouse as part of a balanced diet.

Jan 16, 2007

Now that’s more like it

01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

The last big snowstorm didn’t deliver much in the snow department (but it did manage to shut down Portland Public Schools, so, at least according to Russell, it wasn’t a total waste), but today’s snowstorm (3-5 inches; we had over 3 inches at our house, and it looked like it was more than four on the other side of the Ross Island bridge) made up for it. Real snow! Falling from the sky! And, because the City of Portland has four snowploughs, the entire city ground slowly to a stop under the savage blows of the blizzard.

But I got to wander around outside in the snow, which is something I’ve not had a chance to do since I moved out of Chicago. I ended up losing my bus pass on the way home from work (or, in this case, “work” – by the time I got into the office there was basically nobody there, and aside from kicking a broken machine back into action [a fifth-hand ancient DEC 2p intel box, which happens to contain an essential part of our build process, but which isn’t considered important enough to replace with a machine that was actually assembled during this millenium], so all I could do was putter around with a bunch of little things until they closed the building out from me) but it was still worth the snow.

Jan 15, 2007

Yar! (#2)

Don't forget...

at the Moreland Theater
6712 SE Milwaukie, just north of Bybee in the Sellwood-Moreland Neighborhood
Saturday, January 20th * 1 p.m.

Tickets are $12/adult and $8/child (age 12 or under)

At the door: $15/adult and $10/child
See the world's best pirate band, beloved by kids and adults alike, in the charming and historic Moreland Theater!
All profits from this special, one-hour show benefit the Llewellyn Foundation. Help fund teaching staff at Llewellyn Elementary School and have a great time doing it!

Tickets are available now at:

For details on Captain Bogg & Salty, see (and be sure to check out the new Pieces of 8ight music video!).

Please contact Julie Wright, 503-235-5687 or julie at, for information on how to order by mail or with other questions. Thanks for your support!

Jan 14, 2007

Yunday Dust Mite Blogging™

Silas found Dust Mite today, and decided that today would be a good day for some traditional Dust Mite Blogging (it, like gay marriage, is a traditional value in my household.) So, without further ado, it's time for Yunday Dust Mite Blogging™:

Silas wanted to pose Dust Mite in our lego viking ship hull.

After I took this picture, Russell decided that he wanted to do a fdmb™ picture as well, but wanted to do a Star Wars®™© version.

Some Jedi©®™ knights look more imposing than others. Be thankful it's not Darth Mite.

Jan 13, 2007

Ahhh, customer support

The connection we've got from home to the outside line is via a cablemodem, which we put in sometime over 7 years ago when @home was still in business. Since the @home tech came out to "install" the modem -- a process that involved the following conversation:

tech: umm, you're not running Windows, right?
Orc: right. I'm running FreeBSD on this machine.
tech: Okay, well, I'm not going to touch your machine. Here's a copy of the worksheet; you'll find what you need to connect to our network
we've been running with the same modem, the same ethernet card, and the same ethernet cable. Most of the time it's been hunky dory, except for one teeny problem; a lot of the Windows machines on my network segment appear to be infested with viruses that spend all of their time busily scanning the entire @home/at&t/comcast address space for new Windows machines to infest. The modem is a fairly stupid bridging modem, and it's always suffered from the interesting misfeature of if it gets too many arp requests (and/or random windows network gunk) tossed at it, it goes catatonic and wants to be rebooted (which is usually not a problem, because before that happens connectivity through the cable segment has reached the sort of enthusiastic opaqueness that the earth provides for radiation from the sun.)

In the pasts few months, the modem has been locking up more and more, and, more annoyingly, when I give it the big red reset, it spends a lot of time trying to fight through the virus-ridden neighborhood to even establish a carrier. So I wrote to customer support, saying "your network is having connectivity troubles in the evenings and on weekends. There seems to be a lot of traffic that looks like viruses attempting to reproduce, and it's killing connectivity and my modem. And I have to restart the modem before it recovers."

I got back, not surprisingly, a message which was comcastese for "did you plug in your computer." Which is more or less what I expected. So I wrote back describing the problem in more detail, but otherwise not adding anything new.

This time I got a little checklist of things to follow, most of which boiled down to "don't forget to plug in your computer" and "did you unplug your cable modem."

Why, yes, thank you. So I sent back a third iteration of the problem, this time mentioning the stuff they should have already known, like the actual IP ranges of the offending arp scans, and what the diagnostics on the modem were telling me about line failures. If the damned cable modems had any sort of error logging, they could just go in and see, but the operative words for consumer electronics are old and no managment and as cheap as we can get, so I hoped that it might provoke the customer support people to fling up their hands and pass me to a tech. I even commented that "if you think your old modem is causing the trouble, I would be happy to get a replacement unit."

This got a slightly different reply. This time it was basically "we don't know if you're plugging your computer in, so we need to send out a tech. And if we think it's your fault, you get to pay for the tech." No offer to replace the modem, of course, and certainly no reply to my comments about the virus level on the cable network. Just an offer to have some Windows tech come out, see the Unix machine, and turn around and leave because their tinned Windows Support Disk won't run on FreeBSD.

Sigh. It's the price I pay for not paying business rates for a T-1 into my basement (and for living in darkest Westmoreland, where I can't get DSL Northwest service [DSL Northwest was, by far, the best network connectivity I've ever purchased. Their technical support people appear to have actually looked at a computer during their adult lives, and hence don't run screaming when they have to deal with yet another annoying Unix sysadmin customer.])

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Jan 12, 2007

A match made in… um…. well, made somewhere

A simple recipe for wasting time the American Healthcare way:

Take a simple doctor's office that's been accumulating paper records for the past 40 years or so. Add a spiffy new computer system that allegedly converts the office to a paperless office and forces the doctors to lug around PC tablet computers. Add patients, and what do you get?

  • "Can you please fill out this new information sheet?"
    "I filled one out when I started using this doctor"
    "Oh, we can't use those forms because we'd have to hire someone to type them into the computer"
  • "Can you fill out this piece of paper that describes your symptoms" (the old inefficient way to describe your symptoms was to describe them to a nurse, who could write them down on the appointment memo sheet for the doctor to look at later. But to do it this way in the new improved paperless office would require giving the nurses tablet computers, and then how could you tell the difference between a nurse and a doctor?)
  • Loooooooooooooong waits between the nurse (who takes the piece of paper describing your symptoms, asks you your symptoms, and checks your (high. Ugh.) blood pressure,) and the doctor (who asks you your symptoms, opens up the computer, then spends about five minutes navigating through the menu before they can actually examine you.)
  • And after they examine you, they need to wander off to type all of this information into their computer before they tell you that there aren't any more tests and you can go.

When we went to the doctor's today, this went on and on and on for a hour. On a day when there was no waiting list.

It's truly inspiring. It's almost as inspiring when you come into the office and see yet another representative of Big Pharma there to coax the doctors into yet another barkingly expensive wonder drug (that only makes test mice explode one out of 100 times, really, we mean it this time!)

In the grand scheme of things, waiting forever isn't a problem (I'd suspect that even in sensible countries that don't have 15% of their population uninsured you'll still find doctor's offices that have gone computer happy,) but, boy, it's certainly annoying.


Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

You'd be sad, too, if you were a tiny little freezing arachnid
Sad Dust Mite In Snow.

(--apologies to Fred Gallagher)

Jan 11, 2007

Equality, lego-style

We're ready for our closeup, Mr. DeMille!

When we started buying legos, it wasn't too long before I noticed that the sex and racial balance was, um, pretty close to nonexistent. Not only were the vast majority of the legos pasty-yellow (with a small leavening of peach-colo(u)red figures), but the sex balance teetered between androgynous (the standard lego smiley face) to obviously male. This wasn't acceptable, so I went on a pretty extensive campaign to correct that hideous imbalance.

It is now, finally, finished(ish). Of 223(!) lego figures, 100 or so are female, 80 or so are black, 10 are peach, 17 aren't regular figures (skeleton guys, darth vader®™©, robots and robots, clone®™© troopers™®©, spongebob©®™ people, and the like), which leaves around 115 yellow figures and 95 male figures. And I've got a small stack of spare black (actually reddish-brown) and stereotypically female minifig heads stored away in the lego hospital so force the gender balance back the next time the bears buy a lego set that includes another batch of bearded and stubbly Men™! (I've got a small collection of anime-guy lego kits I've bought on sale, but they are tucked away while I decide what to do with them. If they join the lego mob in the library, there will be some sex and colo(u)r changing going on before the make it out of where I've hidden them away.)

The only obvious minority I've got right now are the peach-colo(u)red minifigs, but given that every movie tie-in series comes with peach figures, and the bears are in a mode of saving up their allowances to BUY MORE LEGOS!, this problem might not continue for very long.

Update: Russell did the counting when we added it up to 223, and he double-counted a row. It's actually on the order of 209 minifigs (the Heisenberg principle is strong here), divvied up as follows:

42 ...yellow guys
56 ...yellow women
33 guys
47 women
7 ...peach guys
3 ...peach women
21 ...robots,skeleton guys, etc

There are slightly more yellow than black minifigs (18 more) and quite a few more women than men (28 more.) If you add in spongebob, squidworth, darth vader, mr crabbs, and the wookie monster, it shrinks the latter margin down to 23 and technically raises the peach guy count to 8, though the fetching pallid grey of the elder skywalker's head wouldn't be out of place on a Teen Titans Raven minifig, if not for minor details like the scowl, the eyes, and the duelling scars.

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Oh, I’m sure this will work out well

Washington intelligence, military and foreign policy circles are abuzz today with speculation that the President, yesterday or in recent days, sent a secret Executive Order to the Secretary of Defense and to the Director of the CIA to launch military operations against Syria and Iran.

(--The Washington Note, via Discourse.Net)

If this isn't just weblog gossip, I believe it would qualify as a "let's cross the beams!" moment.

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Quote of the day

"You had no idea what would happen because all of you have the forethought of a butter-clam"

(--Dave@the galloping beaver, effortlessly swatting down a crowd of Tories)

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The great portland blizzard of ‘07

A fierce blizzard, dumping, um, about 1 mm of snow!
For this, the school district closed Portland Public Schools. Looks pretty scary, no?
by 9am, the snow was melting, but at least there was enough to make one little snowman

No. Not scary. The snow stopped and the sun came out and started melting the ~ 1mm accumulation at about 9am, but at least there was enough snow to build one little snowman (demolished by the bears after I took this photo.)

Jan 10, 2007


So Maximum Leader Genius is planning to give his well connected friends and family a bigger chance to steal billions from the US government, hidden by a troop escalation in Iraq (with new! improved! less moral! rules of engagement, no doubt, because it wouldn't be a proper machine for making monsters if it allowed American soldiers to escape unscathed. Will the CIA be doing mandatory "how to murder someone with an electric drill" seminars, or will the new rules of engagement include bringing along a crack team of torturers from the Iraqi Ministry of Love?)

At least the son of a bitch is starting to look frightened now. Perhaps it's trickled into his tiny little brain that if he's lowered the bar so much that signing the death warrants for 150 people is enough to get you into a kangaroo court, signing the war documents that have resulted in the deaths of 6 or 7 hundred thousand civilians is enough to get you hung before the kangaroo court hands you over to the mob.

Jan 09, 2007

Leftover railroad picture of the day (the day in question was last sunday)

Amtrak F69 #469 vanishes behind the eastmoreland country club clubhouse

When copying photos off the Pentax, I saw another picture from last sunday that looked promising. The blessing and the curse of a nice fast lens is that you can't see any hint that this train is moving at 50mph.

Aerial Tramway photo(s) of the day

North balances on top of a shipyard crane South says hello to a tramcar of a different colo(u)r

I take the #19 bus to and from work, so the lower terminal of the OHSU Lathe-of-Heavenish tramway is right next to where I cross the river. Since it's not likely that I'm ever going to ride on the things (the originally proposed "oh, it's just more mass transit and you can use a Tri-Met pass to ride it" was discarded when the powers that be realized that hoi polloi might actually sully their precious vehicles [wonder why your hospital bills are so high? Well, this is part of it,] so I'm not going to go out of my way to pay US$4 for a round trip excursion to a goddamn hospital,) I might as well get a few more pictures of the cars as they go by.


Another reason to steer well away from the “Biden for President” bandwagon

Joe Biden (S-De) doesn't believe that it's legally possible for Congress to put a stop to Maximum Leader Genius's excellent adventure in Afghanistan|Iraq|Somalia|etc. Most lefty pundits think that this is just a case of Joe Biden being the very model of a stereotypical Stupid Party Senator, but I'm not so sure. He is, after all, planning on running for President, and I'm sure that the thought of "wouldn't it be cool to have the entire US armed forces at my command with no way for anyone to stop me?" has crept through his brain.

He is, after all, one of the people who voted for the odious "bankruptcy reform" bill that delivered many many victims to the lairs of the loan sharking credit card industry (many of which, by a happy coincidence, happen to show up in the state of Delaware.) If there was a chance that he could be the one in charge of the sort of massive asset-stripping scheme that the B*sh junta is presently inflicting on the United States (the slaughter of 100s of thousands of Iraqi citizens? It's just to provide cover while friends of the B*sh junta carry truckloads of cash out of the US coffers. The only personal involvement that Maximum Leader Genius has with Iraq is that it provides him with stuff movies that he can jerk off to, and he's already got that with the US gulag,) why, just imagine what the resulting campaign contributions would look like.

He'd be one strike against the new Stupid Party-controlled Senate, except that I already knew that the Democrats in the Senate are, by and large, every bit as amoral and corrupt as the Republicans are, and the best Harry Reid can do is to keep them from making a complete mess of whatever comes out of the House. It would have been nice if the Stupid Party could have taken another 10 senate seats (not actually possible, given the distressingly large pro-torture chunk of the US electorate [a chunk that reliably votes for the Evil Party, as opposed to the people who loudly support liberal values in polls, but never bother to get off their fat butts and actually vote for representatives who will keep those values going]) but as it stands I'll have to put up with the Washington lifer stupidity brigade's inane prattle while hoping that the Senate majority whip can beat some sense into them when it comes time for a vote.

But that whip wouldn't help if old Joe was in the White House, so it's good that he can make a fool out of himself when he's not in a position to take advantage of his pro-despotism leanings.

The joys of the American healthcare system, pt 6 – mysterious bills from the beyond

For "cost containment", the health plan I'm on at work has farmed out their drug coverage to some internet pharmacy somewhere on the east coast. At first, it was just another stupid health card I had to carry around, which was annoying (the US$15 copay was more annoying, particularly since most of the drugs that float through the house cost < US$15), but then, also for "cost savings", the drug coverage required that we get all of our drugs through this internet pharmacy instead of through our local chemist.

Apparently "cost containment" has just been jacked up to a new level, which, according to the mysterious bill I just recieved, is "you pay us money for drug coverage, and we don't provide any drug coverage." This is a bill asking for ~US$100, in a bunch of amounts ranging from US$14 to US$40, with absolutely no explanation for the amounts listed.

Oh, and this internet pharmacy is on the east coast and it doesn't have a toll free WTF-F? number for people to call when they receive mysterious bills. So if I call them, it's my dime to figure out what drug they're on today?

Uh, no.

Needless to say, this comes at the same time my doctor wants to put me on some blood pressure medication because my blood pressure mysteriously went through the ceiling at the same time my sane corporate masters were fired and replaced by an, ahem, more elaborately coiffed lot. Now, even in the best of times I do not really want to have to resort to blood pressure medication to crank my blood pressure down now, because I want to keep some room for maneuvering if something goes badly wrong with my circulatory system and something has to be done right now™ to get my blood pressure down to the point where I don't generate 10 meter geysers when I get a nosebleed, but now that it looks like I might have to play the exciting game of "fight with the outsourced parasites" to get my health insurance to actually, um, pay for the services I'm paying them to provide I really really REALLY don't want to have to add additional medications to the pharmecutical house of horrors that American medicine wants my body to become.

I suppose I could always quit my job. It's not that I haven't done it before. But the previous times I'd quit my job the thrice-damned American healthcare system was somewhat less completely borked than it is now.

(And, for ObCanadian content: Apparently the so-called "Liberal" government in British Columbia has completely soured on socialised medicine and wants to sneak in American-style pay-for-no-service healthcare instead. British Columbia might be a lovely place aside from the pine blight and the nasty development blight that's spreading out from Vancouver like a particularly noisome fungus, but if I wanted American style healthcare, I'd just stay in the United States where I can get it, and torture, and discrimination *for free*. Perhaps Montréal instead? It's got a real winter (for now; global warming will put an end to that soon enough), mass transit, an electrified suburban railway, and it's the northern terminal of the PV&T.)

1 comment

Jan 07, 2007

Railroad picture of the day

An lunchtime surprise, courtesy of GM-Canada and Amtrak

An Amtrak F69 whizzes by the Eastmoreland Golf Course's clubhouse at around 11:30am this morning. We'd gone over there to have brunch, and I was waiting outside as the cars unloaded because there was a container train waiting on the far track. It had started to move, so I had the Pentax out and was not caught completely unawares when an ex-F40PH cab car popped out from under the Bybee bridge. The Pentax, on the other hand, was caught unawares, so I didn't actually get any pictures of the F40 because the poor camera was set to autofocus and it couldn't get a good frame on a fast-moving diesel in the rain. The back of the train was far enough away from the front so I could turn the thing to manual focus before the pusher popped into view.

The Prius to the left of the engine is our prius. The one to the right is just randomly sitting there because this is Portland, where everybody and their brother has one.

Jan 05, 2007

Friday Dust Mite Blogging™

Oddly enough, a viking ship doesn't have the same sense of menace when it's being piloted by a fierce Dust Mite.

Until now I’ve never really appreciated the Teletubbies.

Jan 04, 2007

Ahh, it’s nice to see traditional “Christian” charity in action

Massachusetts legislators approved a measure yesterday that next year could allow voters to overturn a historic same-sex marriage law in the only state in the nation where such unions are legal.


Both sides forecast a wrenching battle if the amendment goes on the ballot in 2008. The Catholic Church and various evangelical denominations have poured money and manpower into the effort.

Working for peace? Naaa!

Love thy neighbor? Nope!

Get out the 2x4s and go on a wholesome traditional round of gaybashing? Why, sure, the Catholic leadership (which doesn't seem to think that pedophilia is worth anything than a transfer to a new and unsuspecting parish where the offending priest can get back to his traditional role of buggering little boys and girls) and the closeted self-loathing gay evangelical preachers will be happy to rile up their flocks to go and beat people to death. There's nothing more traditional than finding some oppressed minority and beating the shit out of it, and if you can be buttressed with some not worth the goddamn paper it's written on constitution, it's even better because then you'll have something to wipe the blood off with!


If the First Church of Christ the Bigot doesn't like icky gay people, why, it doesn't have to let us into their fucking church. But their sanctuary does not include my life.

1 comment

Jan 03, 2007


at the Moreland Theater
6712 SE Milwaukie, just north of Bybee in the Sellwood-Moreland Neighborhood
Saturday, January 20th * 1 p.m.

Tickets are $12/adult and $8/child (age 12 or under)

At the door: $15/adult and $10/child
See the world's best pirate band, beloved by kids and adults alike, in the charming and historic Moreland Theater!
All profits from this special, one-hour show benefit the Llewellyn Foundation. Help fund teaching staff at Llewellyn Elementary School and have a great time doing it!

Tickets are available now at:

For details on Captain Bogg & Salty, see (and be sure to check out the new Pieces of 8ight music video!).

Please contact Julie Wright, 503-235-5687 or julie at, for information on how to order by mail or with other questions. Thanks for your support!

Yes! This is an advertisement. No, it's not paid. And yes, you should go and buy lots of tickets, because the best has been working her fingers to the bone trying to set this thing up and Captian Bogg & Salty is the best pirate band out there.


Obéir c'est trahir, Désobéir c'est servir