Saturday, January 26, 2013

Everything is Under Control


I'd been bragging to some Bible studies teacher of food ethics about my FNB connections, so it was fortuitous to have an opportunity to reinforce those ties.  Jay's bike had been ripped from a private stairwell by some bold theft artist, and so he phoned me as he arrived at OTY on foot, hoping to meet up with TA who had vegan chili.

Well, the long and the short of it is I hauled the day's vegetables from point A to point B, got to be the hero at some level in the Global Matrix.  I got some good body core sweat goin' meaning a definite calorie burn, especially when coming back, fully loaded, and up some fairly steep inclines.  It'd be interesting to know how many joules that was.  My Razr showed my I'd turned the wrong way at Williams and Tillamook (I was rusty, I admit).

Trevor was by today with some excess assets. Yes, RAW's anthology of conspiracies, entitled Everything is Under Control.  Indeed that entry under GRUNCH was to my page, as will disclose.  Some say one of the more successful conspiracies but I'm not really in a position to judge, being in the thick of it and all.

Given a canine is moving in, and an ET, we set it up to have Sarah-the-dog encounter her housemate-to-be on a walk.  No turf to defend, a public space (in front of Laurie's).  Then she came home with us, with both humans clearly OK with it. This was supposed to set the right tone.  Dog psychology ya know.

Given Pirate Party links, quite unofficial given my US citizenship, it's maybe not surprising I've been waving the Swedish flag a lot.  I was telling poor Paul Tanner on math-teach that no matter how right Paul Krugman might be on the macro economics, USAers were just not smart enough to surge in their own interests, prove me wrong why don'tcha.  They confuse democracy with just voting (if even that), as if that were the limit  of their responsibilities. Then today I was like viva Sweden and Finland, compared to the sorrowful goliath.

To a physics list:
Civilizations making it past various thresholds enter an era where the planetary biosphere becomes of concern.  It's not just warming we have to think about, but radiotoxins and out of the cloud mad scientist experiments such as the ones conducted recently by so-called "cold warring" goliaths and their idiot advisers.  They messed with the Van Allen belts. 
As humans, we are aware of no precedent (legal or otherwise) for the current chapter i.e. as we awaken to our biospheric responsibilities, and eye Mars as a possible habitat, at least in science fiction, and as we think about colonizing the under-ocean ecosystem somewhat more, we have no ancestral role models other than we have many examples of ecosystems becoming untenable.  
We know we might mess up.  
I hope to be available to out-of-towners during Apachecon, then have to high tail it to Philadelphia for the annual meeting.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Fooding at Meeting

"Fooding" is not usually a verb, but it is in the Himalayas, so I'm absconding with it for local use.  Today the Junior Friends had a fundraiser, though perhaps not sufficiently announced.

The theme was "Middle Eastern" and extended to include a lamb stew (even if many Friends are individually vegetarian).  I brought the ingredients for Teresina Lentils and cooked the dish en situ, in our "Food Not Bombs" kitchen (as I tend to think of it, private namespace).

Speaking of which, Walker has re-purposed a portion of her wardrobe to practice as "FNB CEO" (one of many in an anarchy).  Not that different from me being in the Education Ministry, sometimes as the actual Minister (rotating position).  Steve Holden and I are watching In the Thick of It (BBC), which is fun.

Keith McHenry is another FNB CEO who has come through.  He's been in Mexico and Chiapas and places.  I've read some communiques.  Walker is meeting with Unitarians today, after their service.  She's droped her urban survivalist look for something more churchy today.

Today is Business Meeting at Multnomah Meeting.  I should ascend the stairs and continue journaling from there.

Was what happened in Connecticut all that different from what happened in Fallujah?  Crazed mad-cow-like humans hell bent on taking lives, and equipped with the tools for so doing.

I'm curious about whom nominating has added to the slate for Oversight Committee (OC).  We lost four Overseers in a short time recently, including the previous clerk (Debbie has been acting clerk).

Walker thinks a Major Payne type character, perhaps more than one, vets, friendly big guy types whom the kids adore, would be a stereotypical, OK way to add security.  They have responsibilities as faculty as well. We had our armed guards in Manila but they didn't get to teach anything.

I'm used to the idea of armed security around me, on base, in the hood.  Should kids be practicing with swipe cards then?  It depends on the school I think.  School is a lot about preparing for the work place, and a lot of work places are locked down to some degree.  Learning the habits of working in secure environments is worth starting early.

Mari, Barbara and I talked about language learning, Arabic in particular.  Mari has been in Egypt recently.  She's finding Arabic hard.  She and Barbara both speak Spanish pretty well.  Mari has noticed Arabic roots in Bantu.  I bought some coffee roasted by Josh, one of our former armed services guys.  I don't speak any Arabic, to speak of, though I've studied it and admire it.

Leslie Hickcox gave the annual report of the FCNL liaison: she'd traveled to DC for the November meeting.  The Friends Committee on National Legislation is a Quaker lobby based in the Imperial City (QUNO represents Quakers to the United Nations).

There's a somewhat slow version of the Countdown to Zero campaign going on around Congress, run mostly by eventualists (not immediatists, i.e. not radical abolitionists).

"Immediatist" is a term from Civil War days, when some people wanted to end the institution of slavery in North America right away. Others, including many Friends, were for ending slavery all in good time, maybe in a few hundred years.  Big wheels turn slowly and so on.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Urban Fashions

"Urban nomad" is not a new concept, yet keeps morphing.

Given Portland's bicycle-centric core youth culture, clothing that won't catch in the chain is a must, but that may mean leg hugging stretched fiber of some variety.  There's no preference for the women's bicycle with the lower bar, as the tunic or skirt doesn't care.   These aren't hooped gowns we're talking about.

Much of the focus in this genre is on accessories, as the ninja nomad needs autonomy within cities.  If you're attending a Food Not Bombs serving, or just wanting to not waste, then you won't need those plastic utensils or paper cups and plates people keep shoving at you, adding to the waste stream.

Your mess kit signals you're a soldier for the environment, on the side of trees and all that is green and good.  In this way, the hippie earth mother tradition is continued, but in a somewhat more superhero vein.  Maybe just chop sticks.  My mom carries those around.

Which brings us to utility belts.  These have been typically worn low on the waste, but there's much to be said for kidney high pouches, or holsters worn high.

The bicycle tools are typically under the seat (of the bicycle) but if you're paranoid or in a paranoid part of town, you need room on your person for small gadgets normally fixed to your steed.

I sometimes wear a money belt around the wrist or lower arm, Cuffka brand by Nirel.

The winterized outfit is the more challenging.  The look derives from EMT work, where the crews need to stay flexible, able to operate equipment, fold and unfold gurneys and so forth.  Para-medical meets para-military:  the place to aim.

The goal is to remain compact, light, efficient, and semi-autonomous.  You may be packing electronics.  You may carry extra glasses, a brief case.

Ideally, this outfit is compatible with the workplace, perhaps a record store or hair salon, some public facing job.  But that's Portland more than some workplaces, in that we're already over tattoos and nose rings.  The fixed image of how the CEO has to look gave way some time ago.

Monday, January 14, 2013

FNB PR Again

The way I see it is as Urban Sport, a lot like GeoCaching, which my friends Chris and Larry play almost every day, at least when in town.  Trevor took me on a geocaching outing a couple times, once to track down the cache, another time to set up a fresh one, or so I recall.

Food Not Bombs as practiced by our chapter is athletic.  Like the Hash House Harriers my dad so loved, mom also a runner, me too when in town.  Not the same meaning of "hash" but you're forgiven if you're confused.  In that one, a small groups lays a trail, with several false branches, all signified in esoteric chalk symbols.  The gang gets unleashed later, and follows the trail like bloodhounds.  The routes may be spectacular as the sport lends itself to all manner of topography.

So here you've got a bike trailer, possibly homemade from a ladder, or bamboo.  You've got artisans in this sector already, with more ideas in the pipeline. Art trailers.  Busking hutches.  Would we allow them?  Curbside trailers are akin to cars, allowed to park overnight, and why not with sleepers?  As usual, the public street and curb are the focus of so many laws, with each "class" fighting for rules perceived to work in its favor.  Yet elegant, high powered shows move around in curbside vehicles.  Why be too biased against small, fuel efficient, cycle-drawn carriages?

In any case, my trailer isn't looking for a place to park.  I got it from the lot.  There's a fleet.  I'm on duty I signed up for, a workout.  This is my time in the "gym of life".  I'm on a mission to rescue perfectly fine organic produce of high quality, just inches from the compost machine, in order to feed an ecosystem of community building food awareness activists who enjoy the challenge of taking what they get.

The values are enough congruent with Quaker values (no outward weapons needed, simple rules, plain speech, egalitarian treatment) to lead me to encourage FNBers to just come by any time, pick up some roles in the meeting.  There's no requirement to profess lifetime allegiance to some religious denomination in order to walk the talk and speak truthfully of one having committee responsibilities, including clearing others for membership (without being one oneself).

Deciding to "wear the tattoo", to advertise publicly one's allegiance, in reciprocal fashion with a Monthly Meeting, is another service or program we offer, called "membership in the Society" (i.e. Religious Society of Friends).  For this role, we don't always self select our most esoteric or nuanced Friends, as their talk may require of them manifold allegiances and obligations, or express itself in principled objections to some status quo among members (slave ownership was at one time divisive).  Be that as it may, participation is encouraged, from members and non-members alike.

FNB is similar in offering dramatic roles.  It's urban theater.  We appreciate our guerrilla chefs, able to turn a combination of dry stores and fresh produce into something delectable.  Would that a noob cook could learn in an apprentice capacity.  This happens.  Many torches to passed.  Had I not lost Ninja David's knife set, I might not be allowing a Cutco salesperson into my home tomorrow.  By now, I truly appreciate the value of a good knife set.  Even if I don't make a purchase, I'll before to remind my fellow urbanites not to "make do" with less than professional cookware, to the extent your budget might afford.  Way more important than beer and cigarettes.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Thirsters Gather

Tonight was a who's who for me in that a lot of my favorite characters were present:  Mark Frischmuth of DemocracyLab, Marianne Buchwalter, Allen Taylor, Bob Bjerre and more.

Thirsters had gathered to celebrate and commemorate the life and times of their anchorman Bob Textor.  These were his salon mates, his chat room, of live, here and now people. Both his adult offspring were there and joined in the speech making, spontaneously emceed by Art Kohn (both he and Allen have cruise ship experience as well as classroom and know how to speak in a group setting).

Wanderers has benefited over the years from our overlap with this group.  Our horizons have been expanded.  Don is our principal go-between, as anchorman for Wanderers.

Thirsters is liberal, academic, and strongly steeped in Southeast Asia.  Roger Paget is another founder and will be anchoring the next planning meeting as this 15-16 year old group seeks its way in the wake of Bob's passing. 

This McMenamins was a tavern and pool hall back when Vaughn Street Park, a baseball park, hosted Pacific Coast League games, with Beavers the home team.  Spectators swarmed through around game time, though the 30s and 40s. The park was demolished in 1956, two years before I was born.

Thirsters took root in a later chapter, in an alcove at the east end, and when McMenamins remodeled the place, their new floor plan encouraged the same growth pattern.  The McMenamin brothers have enjoyed and supported this use of the space and their company footed the tab for the evening, with Thirsters leaving thank you tips to the staff.

A more formal memorial service will be held in March.

I won't try to give a bio of Bob here.  He worked on the original architecture of the Peace Corps, as one speaker reminded us tonight.  He made sure recruits got training in the language and culture of the place they were being sent -- you'd think an obvious need, but Washington DC was still pretty green at outreach via this new form of citizen diplomacy.  He had extensive experience in Asia.

The chatter that developed around Bob and his friends is both erudite and worldly and helps define cosmopolitan Portland, an interesting cross between a world capital (of open source for example) and a frontier town.  Lew Frederick showed up, a regular (and member of the Oregon legislature these days) and Sue Hagmeier, sister of my friend Michael.

A great many other important people were present, but I'm mostly confining my account to characters previously mentioned in my blogs.  Portland is small, but not that small.  Elizabeth Furse had appeared here a couple weeks ago, having spoken at Wanderers earlier.

I talked a lot with Allen, who is as busy as ever writing books and helping a South Africa based company expand its market for substance screening and identity verification equipment.

Bob Bjerre talked about his adventures in Kosovo, Macedonia and like that, in the aftermath of the last Balkan War (the breakup of Yugoslavia).  He helped with home building for World Vision and United Methodists.

Marianne expressed her generic hope in young people and their ability to create a brighter world for themselves (her granddaughter is going to work for Intel). "As long as they don't do something stupid" I said sagely.

Michael @ McMenamins
@ Thirsters, from 2007 (click for larger view)

Monday, January 07, 2013

Science Pub

I got there early, skipped the beer line, and did some day jobbing using wifi.  The theater filled quickly, yet I still wasn't clear on the topic....

Suzanne tapped me awake.  I'd dozed off, having not slept much.  My finger was doing the "d" key in someone's program ("dddddddd...." over a thousand according to PyCharm).  No real damage, as I could easily refresh with a copy... She was there with a friend.

Chris sat to my left and introduced herself.  We compared notes on culture and music.  She proved quite knowledgeable.   She and Suzanne exchanged greetings.

Then came the quiz, which I was miserable at.

The lecture was all about this neuroscientist's family.  He was doing a lot of the teaching things I advocate, sharing autobiography, telling stories, connecting the dots, but not neglecting to share concepts and findings in STEM.

His slides had plenty of animations.  Larry Sherman, Ph.D. -- hadn't he done a talk here before as one of Oregon's most innovative? Ah yes, It comes back to me now, slowly.  Is it still Deja Vu if you've really seen it (or something like it) before?

The Bagdad's brightest projection bulb had died (exploded?) over the weekend and we were invited to not comment on screen dimness in our OMSI Pub evaluations, as this was a known issue.

Lots of talk about epigenetics.  The animations were of DNA coiling within coils of coils, but still translating, making proteins.  He went over the ultra basics.

Epigenetic factors might include a tightening of some coils, making them less likely to translate, thanks to supporting proteins (animations for this).  This isn't about sequences jumping, but about multiple systems impacting one another, being a part of one bigger process: the passing along of karma.

Yeah, it sounds weird to say "karma" there, so lets say "momentum" which is conserved.  I've been reciting this mantra, "momentum for a distance in a time".  The somewhat blurred picture registers a change in position for the time the film was exposed to the information.

Lights, camera, action.  The units of action are momentum for a distance, whereas energy is action in a time (at a frequency).  I think of cartoons with repeating backgrounds.  Ripple effects, consequences.  "Karma" might sound too judgmental, whereas if you're more psychoanalytic about it then you see most karma as unconscious and not really the ego's affair (unless the ego needs to get heroic and effect some changes -- a new level of "go gettum" in the animal kingdom).

Before the speaker part started, a father and son played miniature ukelele and banjo type instruments.  No singing.  I've already lost the memory of the band's name, which was projected and repeated. The audience was a appreciative, Larry had a good segue into his talk.

Our speaker recounted finding out he'd been adopted and ultimately wanting to know more about his biological parents and siblings.  He was astounded to find his academic career had taken him to his ancestral lands, before he had a clue they were ancestral.

I won't recount the whole story here, as it sounded like, after a couple more presentations, the theater might pick this up.  The neuroscientist is also into theater, music, sports.

His biological mom had been diagnosed with schizophrenia at way too young an age, and given electro-shock treatments.  Her own mother had been traumatized... it's tempting to relate more of the story.

So how much of who we are depends on "free will" and how much on "machinery"?  That seems to be the polarity.  People wonder about automaticity and to what extent they have any choice in the matter.  One has choice in one's level of acceptance.

Chris considerately shared half a Luna bar and cough drop candies.  She even brought me water.   Suzanne was saying I looked really sleepy (she'd awakened me after all).  After listening to the Q&A I stumbled home.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Black Like Me (movie review)

I grabbed this on impulse from Movie Madness.

This film was made in the mid 1960s.  The running joke, if you can call it that, is he continues to look just like himself.  Like Buzz Lightyear out of his bubble.  He's too grumpy for the job of undercover spy.  Waaaay too grumpy. But we can understand, as the audience, that one feels offended.

He's mostly exposed to other men's sexual fantasies, which you'd think, as a journalist, he'd not be unfamiliar with.

The flashbacks are classically inserted.  The jazz soundtrack is emotive.  They smoke all the time, Buzz Lightyear in bed.  The actors are into it.  The Strange-colored Man would be a fun title.  He's having identity problems much deeper than which side of the Civil War he'd fight on.  A deeper nut case.  Fits into America just great.

I used to hitchhike around the east coast, up and down (as they say, we say)...

Scary man.  If that's what white guys are like, line me up for a vacation.  He's properly grateful to that country guy for not being a dick (short ride, hero not on best behavior).

I tell ya, if you're gonna send spies, at least train 'em first.  He was lucky to recruit that shoe polish guy early, but the training in the field seemed to make zero difference.  See this movie in sequence with The Spy Who Sat Next to the Photocopier.

I don't usually write my reviews right as I watch 'em.  This is the hundred and some minute enhanced edition, the 2nd of 2 DVDs.  I'm 99% sure I read the book in Rome, Italy, part of my parents' collection.  But not until now do I see the movie, in 2013.

There's a guy dancing all machine-like, proto robot.  That set of moves went a long way (Michael Jackson a pioneer / popularizer), kept morphing.  007 would have stuck out too, what with those ears 'n all...  just train 'em first, OK?

Speaking of which, I've been brainstorming on Math Future about my rural Oregon school for diplomats, a pastiche / montage of the best from my cullings.  I've got the "math is an outdoor sport" meme going.

A lot of the trauma is more class than race related.  "You're too serious about everything, ruins a fella from having fun" -- yes, girl, your diagnosis is on target.  It's number 3, 2, 1 experiences all the way (invoking est jargon -- appropriate given toilet access is a theme), a bumpy ride.

The business school project where I yak about Yankee types help with the truck fleet twixt Istanbul and Kabul and those:  not a spy ring, just strong STEM, high level training, and risky to some degree, though we hope not from stupid / random acts of violence.  Roads are dangerous enough...

He's being stalked at the moment, prey.  Prays to St. Jude.  Good Catholic, we learned that earlier.  The KKK didn't like Catholics either right?  Uh oh, PTSD melt down.  The Breaking Bad dad, the meth cook, was a little tougher.  "I'd a known you anywhere".  These whites are geeks (meeting up with his friends).

Somalis are having a "black like me" episode in their history these days.  Shelbyville, TN instead of Shelby, TX.  Talking about the documentary, Hawo's Dinner Party.  It's one thing to be black in Somalia, something else to be Somali in the North American south, maybe forced to relinquish at least one of your husbands.  No wait, I got it backwards, at least one of your wives.  You get the idea.

"You might be interviewed on TV".  How do you not offend people?  That's not the liberal's question.  A healthy conscience is worth a high price in Vienna, makes for better music appreciation.  Offend them if you must, with your revelations, be a Freud, a Woody Allen.  Be one of those bleeding hearts.  Be a muckraker if necessary.

Waaay too grumpy (he's strangling his interviewee -- torture is not professional guy).  Yeah, go see a priest, good idea.  You've got problems.  Uh oh, girl on the beach, another bump.  That ticket booth lady at the bus station isn't very professional.  The sets are theatric.  Movie's were still more "on stage" back then, not surprising.  Some are still made that way, classic.  Gas station, Memphis. Uh oh, cover blown, he's in the newspaper.  Reminds me of the Hillsboro, Ohio story.

Nice character review at the end here, a quick look.  The white line on the road again.  Stands for "color line" right?  Yep, the trailer says so.  Thanks to the film restoration people.  I'll check the special features next.