Portland Sunday Parkways

by Steve, June 22nd, 2008

Portland’s first Sunday Parkways event, which closed a six mile loop of North Portland streets to motor vehicle traffic, was a blast. Best of all, it was just a couple blocks from our house. We’re hoping this becomes a regular event!

O-ba-ma!

Sunday Parkways

Sunday Parkways

The Streets of Moose Jaw

by Steve, June 19th, 2008

The Portland Winter Hawks owners managed to survive their audit by the WHL, which means they’ll probably be playing in Salem by 2010.

In other WHL news, the city of Moose Jaw and the league have reached an agreement keeping their franchise in Moose Jaw, predicated on the city building a new arena to replace the “crushed can,” one of the smallest arenas in the league.

The prairie town I grew up in wasn’t exactly like Moose Jaw, but I can relate.

What the hell is a meme again?

by Steve, June 19th, 2008

I’m a bad blogger. Bad, I tell you! But I’m not the only one. Tillman tagged me with this one.

A List of Fives

What were you doing five years ago?

Not worrying about the woeful state of our public schools.

What are five snacks you enjoy?

  1. Indian pickle
  2. fresh, seasonal fruit
  3. carrots
  4. chocolate chip oatmeal cookies
  5. chili cheese Fritos

What are five things you would do if you were a billionaire?

  1. Pay off all debt for all of my extended family.
  2. Establish trust funds for my children and nieces.
  3. Endow a foundation to promote real equity in public education.
  4. Endow a foundation to promote electoral reform and educate US citizens on the benefits of proportional representation.
  5. Quit my freakin’ job and hang out with my family.

What are five of your bad habits?

  1. Procrastination.

What are five places where you have lived?

  1. Pittsburgh
  2. Iowa City
  3. Some summers and school vacations in Littleton, Colorado
  4. Cedar Bluff, Iowa
  5. Portland, Oregon

What are five jobs you’ve had?

  1. Seed corn detassler.
  2. Produce clerk.
  3. Band instrument repairman.
  4. Sheet music sales clerk.
  5. Software engineer.

The death of Portland Metblogs

by Steve, June 18th, 2008

This past winter, I had a little falling out with Metblogs. I’d been writing for them for a while, when BOOM! Metblogs central decided to relaunch the site with a plethora of technical issues. As a technologist, I found that annoying.

But what really got to me (and a bunch of other writers) was the new registration requirement for comments. A couple of us were summarily “fired” by Metblogs honcho Sean Bonner (I subsequently had my account re-enabled) for complaining about this, and a bunch of others quit in disgust.

Ugly words were exchanged between the rump of the Portland Metblogs crew and those publicly critical of the changes. Talk immediately began of starting up something to replace Portland Metblogs, with total local autonomy, to replace what was once a lively discussion forum.

As I suspected it would, Portland Metblogs has been dying a long, slow public death ever since. New posts are rare. Comments even rarer. Portland Metblogs has long since faded into irrelevance in the Portland blogosphere.

I made one attempt to spark things up, and proposed positioning the site as one of public journalism. Though respondents to my poll overwhelmingly supported the idea of public journalism, the idea went over like a lead balloon with a couple MB stalwarts. They clearly didn’t understand the idea of public journalism vs. social networking, and certainly didn’t appreciate me rocking their little boat.

It was pretty much at that point that I decided I wasn’t doing myself any favors by continuing to contribute to the site. And it’s only gone downhill since then.

Now, just over three months later, it looks like a group of former Portland Metblogs contributors (including “captains” Betsy Richter and dieselboi) have started their own site. With open comments.

There could still be hope for Metblogs. My suggestions of public journalism, open comments and revenue sharing to attract quality writers were met with hostility when I floated them before. Metblogs could be a voice in the Portland digital media milieu. But most likely it will quietly fade further into irrelevance.

Book brigade saves rare books at Iowa library

by Steve, June 17th, 2008

One of the great things about Iowa City is its strong (and long) literary tradition. When it came to saving books at the University of Iowa’s main library, volunteers turned out in droves.

Iowa City storm

by Steve, June 14th, 2008

The University of Iowa called off sandbagging efforts today, as more rain fell and a coffer dam threatened to fail. Thousands of volunteers saved books from the Main Library.

From the Cedar Rapids Gazette, photos of a the latest storm over Iowa City:

Why I’m not going to Iowa tomorrow

by Steve, June 12th, 2008

meWater, water everywhere. I called my Dad on his cell phone. He couldn’t talk long; he was busy filling sandbags to protect the municipal water plant.

“I think we’re going to postpone our trip,” I said.

“Why would you do that?” he asked.

Water levels are currently predicted to crest at 11 feet above flood stage in Iowa City on Tuesday, 4 1/2 feet higher than the flood of 1993.

When I explained to the nice Indian lady at United customer service why I had to cancel my flight, she said, “oh, it is because of monsoon?”

I explained that this is not what they call it in the state of Iowa, but close enough.

I like a manager with a smart mouf

by Steve, June 5th, 2008

They say hockey guys talk dirty. Huh. Listen to Seattle Mariners’ manager John McLaren cuss up a blue streak.

On the hockey front, Congrats to Detroit, even though I was bound by blood to root for the Pens. I wore my Pens’ hat throughout the series, but that wasn’t good enough. The best team won, and it was a great series.

Pittsburgh is going to be a force to be reckoned with, and will have the cup in the next few years, just you wait.