A semi-daily chronicle of my life as a musician, a family man, and a citizen of Oregon.

Feb 25, 2008

Day 6

Just to remind you, what we're doing is counting how many days in a row (days on which I check) at least one ticket machine at the Yamhill Square Max station eastbound is out of order.  I have a feeling double digits won't be a problem.

As you can see, I don't check every day - sometimes I'm walking to the the station just as the MAX pulls up and don't have time to snap a pic.  Now I have a pass, so it's not so critical for me personally.  This is more about just how trimet runs its business.

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Running Update

Yet again I can report that today I ran for longer than I have in my entire life - which turns out to be about 2.7 miles.  Ideally I'll make it up to 3 miles in 30 minutes but right now I'm running about 2.7 in that time.  This isn't that bad considering that it's a Monday night, which is always the crappiest running day for me because I hate running after work.

So out of the 9 weeks of the Couch to 5K program I've done the first jog of week 9.  Yay!  I'm proudest of myself for not missing a single day of the program for the whole 9 weeks.

Some of you have asked what's next on the list.  On the recommendation of folks on the Cool Running website I'm going to do Hal Higdon's Novice Spring Training.  So I won't be able to tell you I ran the farthest I've ever run in my life for at least another two weeks.  The other big change is going to be going from running for time to running for distance.   With the assistance of mapmyrun.com I've already got my routes planned for the first week.  After 12 weeks I'll be running 6 miles!

Feb 24, 2008

Into The Wild

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The recent release of the movie, and the conversations about the book it spawned, reminded me of this book and caused me to look it up. As I heard people discussing the movie I heard over and over again about how much they had loved the book. The movie itself seemed to get mixed reviews.

The book is about a young man given to wandering and poverty. A Thoreau adherent to a greater degree than Thoreau himself, like so many of us who have grown in the generations subsequent to Walden, he eventual takes a trip to Alaska where he attempts to live off of the land. As the reader is informed during the opening passage of the book, he is unsuccessful and ends up perishing due to starvation.

What is fascinating about this book isn't so much the arc of Christopher McCandless' travels and eventual demise so much as the exploration of a wanderlust given to young men raised in environments of pressure to succeed. The universal story is in the desire of a young man reaching adulthood who must define himself in opposition to his past so that he may eventually reconcile himself to it. This is such a ubiquitous state of affairs for so many of us, and I know I for one have felt the desire to live in such an extreme way. For me it was veganism, weapons, and Jujitsu. For Chris McCandless it was living in the wild.

Feb 21, 2008

Feb 19, 2008

Andrew's School Play

Andrew's School Play was last week.  Their music teacher is a gentlemen named Ralph Nelson who is absolutely amazing.  Mr. Nelson writes the plays, which are informative histories loaded with great, witty laughs and interesting songs, many that Mr. Nelson wrote.  Andrew is truly lucky to have him as a teacher.

This year's play was "Ring the Bells of Freedom" and centered around American history.  One of the things that I really appreciate about the plays is that they acknowledge some of the more confusing and disturbing parts of history.  For instance, he does a great job of acknowledging slavery, or the impact of Europeans on the Native Americans.

Andrew played the role of Alexander Hamilton.  He also had a solo verse of "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" and recited the last stanza of Martin Luther King Jr's "I Have a Dream" speech - which was incredible.  He really sold it.

Andrew saying "hi"

Alexander Hamilton looking after the rights of New York

"Swing Low Sweet Chariot"

The Grand Finale

Feb 18, 2008

The Rabbit on the Moon

I went running this afternoon (2 and a half miles, by the way, a new personal best) and it was an absolutely gorgeous day.  Apparently there's a common weather phenomenon each January or February that warms us up briefly.  Today was what they say is the last day of that phenomenon so it was great to make the best of it.

As I was running back toward the house I noticed the moon bright in a blue sky.

moon

I started thinking about the rabbit in the moon.  When I was a very young kid I heard the story of the rabbit in the moon, which apparently is an East Asian legend.  The interesting thing is that I cannot look at the moon as an adult and see the man on the moon, which is what I think most people see.  When I look, here is what I see:

rabbitmoon

Feb 16, 2008

Day 3 - Yamhill Station Ticket Machine

Blurry because it was taken in a hurry as I hopped onto the train.

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Feb 14, 2008

Crazy Hair Day

Last week Brianna had crazy hair day at her school.  We went with the purple.  It was crazy.

Feb 13, 2008

Feb 12, 2008

Science Experiment Take 2

First off, I have no status on the Trimet ticket machines at Yamhill station today.  The MAX was pulling up just as I got to the stop so I didn't have the chance to check.  Never fear, the next installment will come tomorrow. I know that I will inevitably hear from my critics that I am straying from my original commitment to post the status of the machines every day until they both work.  To those naysayer I say nay, that's right, nay right back at you.  Nay in your face.

Weekend before last the kids tried the volcano science experiment again, this time using the right kind and amount of vinegar and baking soda.  The kids had a lot of fun with it but the results were definitely mixed.  First off, it takes a TON of baking soda and vinegar to make this thing work.  Secondly, you kind of have to mix it up to get it to work, which caused us to need to take apart and rebuild the volcano a lot.  The kids had a lot of fun with the whole thing though and it's always neat to see them learning.

 

Feb 11, 2008

Trimet MAX Machines

Like I've said many times before, I love the public transportation in Portland.  It's great and I'm a devotee.  As I was walking downtown today I was thinking about how much it would suck if I had to go back to driving to the burbs.  I hate traffic and can't imagine being stuck in it every day again when I could be reading.  Not to put too fine a point on it, I <3 Trimet.

BUT

It drives me *crazy* that the Yamhill Station pay machine going east is always broken.  What I've heard from Trimet is that if the machine is broken you're supposed to ride the MAX down one station and buy a ticket there.  The problem with that is if you buy a ticket, you also have to wait for the next MAX to come because you can't get a ticket and get back to the train before the doors close (I've tried).  In my case, if the next train is a yellow line I have to wait for the next one after that too.  So that's about 15 minutes because Trimet can't be bothered to maintain the pay machine.

This is particularly frustrating because while I'm trying to be Johnny Citizen everyone else is getting on the train without paying because they either a) aren't leaving fareless square or b) are just not paying the fare.  Or they could have a pass.  But what gets my goat is that I am a paying customer, and I'm inconvenienced in comparison to everyone else.

According to Trimet officials, they believe that the root of the security problems are caused by fare evaders.  According to Trimet they've really stepped up enforcement over the last few weeks.  I applaud their ability to avoid detection, because I haven't seen a fare checker in months.  That said, if the machines aren't working, what that means is that regular people are getting tickets for fare evasion when they aren't even the real problem.

Admittedly, I have a pass this month, so the situation with the machine doesn't affect me.  It's the lack of logic around this that drives me crazy.  So, being the person I am and attempting to bring order to the world I hereby vow to post every time the machines are broken to just see how many days in a row we go until we have a day on which both machines work.

This'll be fun, like Deal or No Deal, but without the suspense.

DAY 1

Feb 8, 2008

Devotion

I love this because it's too true. About a minute in you'll figure out why I totally relate.

Feb 7, 2008

I Hope We Do

Feb 6, 2008

Goodreads.com

My friend at work told me about this new site that I'm totally digging - goodreads.com.  Of course I did the obnoxious thing and sent invitations to all of my friends so if you were someone I bothered and you didn't appreciate it, know it's coming from a great place.

It's got a lot of cool stuff.  Of course, you start out by adding all of the different books you've read.  Going into it I was expecting the site to be more like a last.fm or netflix where it would take the input of your favorite books and recommend books based on the scoring system, but it doesn't really work that way.  The site is much more about who you have added as friends and it's much more about that kind of community.

They have a lot of features, like the ability to explore the most popular or most read books on the site, follow the reading habits of authors who have signed up for the site and even start or join book groups.  The interesting thing about the site is that the feel of it really does reflect kind of a bookstore, literary vibe.

goodreads.com joins last.fm as my two favorite web 2.0 sites right now.

Feb 2, 2008

So I did it...

For probably the first time in my life I've run two miles in a row. The rest of the distance was warm-up or cool-down walking.

Feb 1, 2008

Everybody Knows

I guess Ryan Adams is just as prolific a video blogger as he is a musician.  Check out this neat little video... a poem from RA, kind of kerouac or bukowski style followed by "Everybody Knows" and a very clever ending credit.