Land of 1000 mosses

by Steve, January 30th, 2011

gone fishin’

by Steve, December 16th, 2010

A Great Egret foraging at Nike World Headquarters, Washington County, Ore. I think She’s hiding her feet so the shoe police don’t kick her out for not wearing Nikes.

October means…

by Steve, October 8th, 2010

The weather’s wetter, which means…

His clever disguise

the froggies are back, which means…

Snakes are back

the snakeys are back.

Junior and I have gone from being fascinated by snakes to being kind of creeped out by them (after our snake ball sighting last weekend).

Oh, and we had another mantis sighting today, but we didn’t get any good pix. Here’s one from a couple weeks back.

The critters we share our neighborhood with

by Steve, September 25th, 2010

who dat?

Jr. and I spent the afternoon at Tualatin Hills Nature Park doing a little bit of a scavenger hunt. “Something a deer might eat” was easy, since we saw a couple deer eating leaves right off the bat. Jr. noticed there was no check box for “snake” (he frequently declares on our nature walks, “We’re not going home until we’ve seen at least one snake or a frog”), but we decided “Something a bird would eat” covered it, since raptors love snakes.

It wasn’t long before we started seeing snakes. Then more snakes. Then a great big ball of snakes. Holy smokes, never have these two boys seen so dang many snakes!

Snake ball

(The girls, meanwhile, were dealing with their own special kind of wildlife at the mall.)

I drive past this 222 acre preserve on my way to work every day, but this is the first time we’ve visited. We’ll be back!


Slugs vs. Animals

by Steve, September 24th, 2010

A game we play in Ory-gun.

How to play: on your walk to school, count all the slugs you see, and also all the (non-human, non-slug) animals you see (bugs, birds, dogs, worms, etc.). Five sightings wins for that category. Or, if one gets to five, you can keep counting the other until you hit the school yard gate (that’s how it always used to be, until yesterday). Or you can change the rules as you go. Actually, I think it’s an unwritten rule that the rules will change at the whim of your third grader, and depending on whether we’re rooting for slugs or animals, and depending on how many of each are out on a given day.

Today, Jr. said the first one to five wins, period. Then, when animals got to five (two flies, a beetle and two dogs vs. four slugs), we decided we’d give the slugs one last chance. We were so engrossed in the contest, we didn’t realize the first bell had rung, and the playground was empty and quiet when we got there. Still, no more slugs.

Animals win again.

Tony Hayward on the McHurlish Report

by Steve, June 6th, 2010

BP CEO Tony Hayward gets candid on the McHurlish Report:


The front fell off

by Steve, August 17th, 2009

From my flickr friend OneEighteen, who drives ships in and out of the Port of Houston for a living.

Eat the rich!

by Steve, June 18th, 2009
The World

The World, a cruise ship that has been converted to a cross between a Pearl district condo tower and the world’s largest SUV, has been moored downtown all week. With 165 multi-million dollar condo units, 270 crew members, five restaurants, a pool and a theatre on board, The World has the equivalent of a small municipal power plant on board spewing carbon and particulates into our fair city for the benefit of its ultra-rich owners. Continuous circumnavigation is a hell of a lifestyle, but not exactly what you’d call “green” or “sustainable.”

The Oregonian ran a cute little puff piece today, giving credence to cruise ship industry flacks (“Travel experts”) claiming these people are spending $125 a day per couple in Portland during their stay. The travel agency that arranged their shore leave claims it could closer to $400.

Breakfast on the world


Meanwhile, as the idle, profligate rich enjoy breakfast on their balcony, and as we bask in the glory (envy?) of their extravagant lifestyle, the City of Portland announced the elimination of 90 jobs previously thought safe, with another 45 jobs in jeopardy and furloughs for those lucky enough to keep their jobs.

The new Gilded Age is upon us.

The best therapy there is

by Steve, June 7th, 2009

Garden report:

  • weeded and thinned: beets, carrots
  • harvested: the rest of the spinach, strawberries
  • direct-seeded: pole beans, winter squash, zucchini
  • transplanted: tomatoes, cuke, jalepeño
  • pruned: Rose of Sharon
  • confirmed: ladybugs released by junior yesterday are hanging out in the potatoes
  • anticipating soon: raspberries, blueberries, new potatoes


Things I hate about Portland

by Steve, February 4th, 2009

First off, I friggin’ love Portland, so don’t give me that hater bullshit.

Now that I’ve got that out of the way, let’s cut to the chase: Portland is over-the-top passive aggressive.

It manifests in traffic, politics and inter-personal relationships. At the grocery store. At work. In lines. At concerts, sporting events, and the library.

Passive-aggressiveness rules so much, there is a taboo on directness. One cannot say “It creeps me out that the mayor was sucking face with a 17-year-old in a City Hall men’s room” without being labeled a prude. (In the words of Bob Dylan, “They smile to your face, but behind your back they hiss….”)

The People’s Republic of Portland (that’s not a put-down; that part I like) is a one-party state, as Willamette Week‘s Nigel Jaquiss said in his close-up on Newsweek’s Web site this week. “[P]ortland is a … go-along, get-along town where people don’t question the orthodoxy. They’re very comfortable having a real absence of critical debate of most issues.”

Nigel was talking (politely) about the reporters and editors at The Oregonian, which has thrice been scooped (twice by the Willamette Week) on stories about Oregon politicians with (ahem) self-control issues surrounding where they put their penises. (Oh, I’m sorry honey, am I being a prude again?)

That lack of critical coverage of our politics and government means that those with land and money can pretty much do what they want with our city, as long as they call it green.

Commercial real estate developers, the power behind the throne in Portland, have successfully co-opted environmentally-minded liberals in Portland and operate with impunity under the cover of many layers of indignity generated by their unwitting minions.

Example: you cannot be opposed to a streetcar project without being a tool of big oil (yeah, that’s me!), even if a primary goal of said streetcar project is to move not people but real estate.

If somebody says it’s “sustainable,” you damn well better not speak out against it, even if that sustainable condo block is driving gentrification and pushing black and brown folks further to the margins of our city and society.

We’ve got a real race problem in Portland, but you better not talk about it. It makes white liberals very uncomfortable to be confronted with their racism. Our neighborhoods are pretty segregated, but our schools are worse, like the Jim Crow south: separate and way unequal.

Are you a white person with some kind of “bikability” issue? The city’s got you covered! You got a problem with finding a place you can afford to live off your service-sector wages? Sorry, pal, Portland can’t help you unless you work “sustainable” into your pitch. Mental health problems? Hit the road, Jack.

Perhaps my biggest gripe is the disconnect between Portland!! and Portland; that is, between the hip and trendy little Pacific Northwest city as seen in the New York Times (Powell’s! Foodies! Coffee! Sustainable! Green! Did I mention Sustainable?) and the sometimes rough-around-the edges part of Portland I live in.

Next installment: Portland’s extended adolescence.