Filed under:Blogging — posted by Anwyn on September 20, 2007 @ 9:11 pm

I think I am burning fat off my abs just by reading Rachel Lucas’s archives and laughing myself silly. No, Rachel Lucas, if you’re eyeing your SiteMeter, I am not stalking you, just burning calories.


Filed under:It's My Life,Not Cool,Priorities,Wacky Oregon — posted by Anwyn @ 8:03 pm

I live in Portland, where we have an insidious governmental interference called the Urban Growth Boundary. It’s a line drawn around the city to prevent urban development outside its borders. When it was first drawn, there was much land inside it still undeveloped, so that development could continue on a pretty ordinary schedule without running up against the line. But now the suburbs are pushed slap up against the boundary. I can literally drive down the line and observe the “house farms” on one side and the actual farms, open land, on the other.

It’s no surprise, then, that the house I live in is built on a development plan of about seven houses to the acre. There is a plot of grass the size of a postage stamp that, surprise, doesn’t entice any of us to hang out outside, though I do maintain some rosebushes and herbs in the half-postage-stamp front yard. The price of houses with yards rises exponentially to the amount of land they sit on, and these houses are likely to be much older and thus require a larger investment in renovation and repair. And because most of us live on the postage-stamp patches, going outside for any amount of time requires us to … drive somewhere, often upwards of 20 minutes, to find a nice outdoor area. That’s right–in a city that prides itself on its greenness and its obnoxious mania for outdoor sports and demonizes auto traffic to the point where our traffic congestion rivals that of much bigger cities because the highway system is not big enough to support the population properly, we have to drive to play outside comfortably.

The UGB is frequently touted as helpful to farmers–you know, so they won’t have to make those hard choices when the dirty developers come knocking on their doors with their fistfuls of cash, because the poor dears just couldn’t handle such a thing. But if they find farming unprofitable, woe to them since they can’t even pay developers to take the land off their hands, since most rural land is zoned in such a way that it can’t be divided into lots smaller than five acres. Even worse, some owners find that when the UGB is moved back, as it periodically is, Metro will thoughtfully tell them their land will be “preserved” instead of rezoned “suburban” with the rest of their neighbors, meaning it will still be worthless to developers.

Today I walked down a street I’ve walked many times before. I’ve always admired how the homeowners there have managed to hang on to their acre-plus plots with houses in the middle, surrounded by a sea of seven-to-the-acres. There was one house in particular that sat in the middle of an acre–a barren acre. Nobody was doing anything with it; it wasn’t even lawn. I used to daydream about what I’d put in there if I could live there. No chance of that–the going price was close to a million the last time it was sold–and though the house looks nice and probably a bit bigger than mine, it’s not a million-dollar house. Today when I walked by, however, the house was jacked off its foundations. A woman I met in the course of the walk told me she heard that the house was to be moved to the back of the lot and eight more would be built on the acre. Oh, did I forget to mention that some of suburbia is zoned nine houses to the acre?

Portland is reaching the point where the density is so high that people will not want to live here. I’m reaching the point myself of wanting to find, um, greener pastures. Metro will not take it into its head that for people who don’t live the hiker/biker lifestyle, a little bit of green to call their own is more important than the finest scenery in the world–especially when Metro doesn’t even want them to drive to see it.

There’s Hope

Filed under:It's My Life,Religion,Television — posted by Anwyn on September 19, 2007 @ 1:22 pm

One of my church’s current Wednesday-night classes is viewing Islam vs. Islamists, the documentary that PBS really didn’t want to show. Maybe I can hold off from the church shopping awhile longer.

Thanks, Mr. Sippican!

Filed under:Cool,It's My Life — posted by Anwyn on September 18, 2007 @ 10:49 am

My Ten Fingers Stepper arrived today from Sippican Cottage Furniture, built, painted, and distressed just for me by Mr. Sippican himself.

Gorgeous solid wood furniture to take away my IKEA blues, with its own story attached, built by a guy who writes, and I mean writes, not just blogs, on the side? Sign me up. Not a minute too soon for this piece, either, as I spent the weekend hopping on and off chairs to reach my high cabinets containing the cakemaking stuff for The Little Bean’s birthday. The Bean and I will both get use out of this one for years to come.

A Flake, But a Likeable Flake, She Remains

Filed under:Priorities,Television — posted by Anwyn on September 17, 2007 @ 5:13 pm

Unlike so many of her colleagues, Sally Field founded her “anti-war rant,” if it can be called such in the face of the far more strident standards set for those today, on simple disgust of soldiers dying without even offering to harangue over the causes of same. I don’t have much beef with that. She didn’t tell other people they should be “sending” their kids to fight; she didn’t claim deliberate deception masking appalling bloodthirst on the part of our country’s leaders; she didn’t even demand that all those mothers’ children be brought home without any regard for their own power of thought and choice or the consequences of such a decision by the government. And when told that the network had bleeped out her cuss word, she didn’t throw a tantrum. She was positively mild.

As far as I’m concerned, the worst thing she did was look like a moron while screeching at the audience and then having to dig deep to remember the last line of her own silly profundity profanity. But embarrassing herself at the awards has always been one of her trademarks, right?

Eah. After slogging through a few episodes of Brothers and Sisters last year, I let the rest of the season accumulate on my TiVo. We’ll see if I get around to continuing it.

PS: Memo to a few of the blogs I’ve read on this topic: The woman’s name is Field. Not Fields.

Update: All that said, however, of course she was dead wrong about that whole “if mothers were in charge” BS.

Even if the best mother EVER was Queen of the Planet, someone somewhere would still need to have their ass kicked, and she’d have to send somebody’s child to do it.

There’s much, much more. (H/t Sarah.)

Update x2: I’ve never read Rachel Lucas before. She’s funny as hell and I’ve blogrolled her, but I must also hate her for the specified period of time for getting “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” lodged in my brain like a splinter in a, shall we say, hard-to-reach place.

Update x3: Amen, preach it, sister. (H/t the Creator of Worlds. What, you don’t think I read Perez, do you? I’m much too busy trying to plow through the rest of last season’s Heroes. I realized today that Hayden Panettiere played Ally McBeal’s egg-donor daughter or whatever the deal was with that shark-jumping mess. And also, Kristen Bell looked gooood at the Emmys. Mister Natalie Maines behind her there is cackling about how playing a Republican jerk is scoring him points at home, if you know what I mean.)

There I Go Being All Guy-y Again

Filed under:Miscellaneous — posted by Anwyn @ 4:36 pm


Well, not totally guy-y, as among the “avid readers” in the poll, the women read nine books and the guys topped out at five. But:

Women read more than men in all categories except for history and biography. …

“We see it every time in our store,” says Carla Cohen, owner of the Politics & Prose bookstore in Washington, D.C. “Women head straight for the fiction section and men head for nonfiction.”

I don’t remember the last new novel I read other than finishing up the Potter series. I pull out my Jane Austens very regularly, but for new books it’s all history and biography for me these days. Put that in the stereopype and smoke it.

H/t the Headlines of the King of the Betas. Wonder if he heads straight for the Gerald Ford biographies or picks up the Stephen King.

Stickin’ It to The Man

Filed under:Politics,Wacky Oregon — posted by Anwyn on September 16, 2007 @ 8:28 pm

I got a voicemail today from the Speaker of the Oregon House. He’s running for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Republican Gordon Smith. His campaign tour kicks off tomorrow. Campaign for what, you may ask, besides gaining the Senate seat?

Nothing, apparently, except stickin’ it to Gordon Smith and Geo. W. Bush. Not one word in his message about what he thinks ought to be done about any of various situations, only that Gordon Smith and George W. Bush have led the country in a wrong direction and apparently he, Jeff Merkley, is the man to set it right. That’s right, apparently the Republican gentleman from Oregon, among the hundred senators, is the one hand-in-glove with Bush, just as responsible as Bush himself for whatever Jeff Merkley doesn’t like.

Despite all evidence to the contrary, President Bush and his top advisers continue to insist the escalation of the Iraq war is a prescription for success. It is mind boggling just how disconnected from reality this administration really is.

No, actually, based on the Petraeus remarks that you, Jeff Merkley, characterized as “a good man being forced to justify a disastrous war,” President Bush is now planning to withdraw troops based on the success already gained, not “escalate” in order to “prescribe” for some future success.

Note to Merkley speechwriters: Calling Petraeus “a good man” does not mask the fact that your opinion of him matches that of

And despite his efforts to remake his record, Gordon Smith voted for this escalation and is just as responsible as George Bush for the ongoing debacle in Iraq.

Just as responsible as the commander-in-chief, who, by the way, Jeff says, should have his duties usurped if Congress doesn’t like the way he fulfills them.

If the president won’t exercise his duty as commander-in-chief to bring an end to this war, Congress should do it for him.

It’s so cute the way the anti-war crowd speaks of war as something that can be ended just on somebody’s say-so. It’s almost as if they really believe the war would just end, poof, if we left. Of course then there are the others who know it wouldn’t and don’t care.

So no, Jeff Merkley, deposing Gordon Smith and George Bush, who by the way will leave office after next year’s election whether Gordon Smith does or not, so, you know, you really won’t have much to do with it one way or the other, is not a good enough reason to vote for you or your illogic.

What’s sad is that he knows his audience here in Oregon. Running on a platform of “I’ll have whatever he’s not having” is the Democrats’ best card right now. It’s too bad there are so many people willing to beg them to play it.

“I Think You’d Be Better Off Talkin’ About This Movie”

Filed under:9/11,Jerks,Sad — posted by Anwyn on September 14, 2007 @ 5:51 pm

James Brolin blithely put his foot all the way into it and seemed in no hurry to try to retract it when he wished radio hosts “Happy 9/11” on Tuesday. As AP says, he does indeed exhibit stunning stupidity, along with gracelessness, tactlessness, and uselessness, but I think he was also getting a lot of pleasure out of yanking chains. Over 9/11. Prig Prick.

No More Potter Movies

Filed under:Movies,Reviews — posted by Anwyn on September 13, 2007 @ 2:15 pm

For me, I mean. Calm down.

I finally caught up to the bandwagon and saw Order of the Phoenix last week. While it was indeed better than most of the films that have gone before, the thing is, that’s not saying much. I’ve never seen any film get less out of a bigger group of truly amazing talents than the Potter movies do. I understand the primary difficulties of transforming reaonably complicated books into movies, but I no longer feel at all interested in paying $9 to watch the filmmakers tick book events off a list without working them to best emotional advantage–“Now the Dursleys do their schtick; now Umbridge tries to throw out Trelawney; now Dumbledore saves the day.” And poor Dumbledore indeed–Michael Gambon simply can’t cut it. Given the direction for the rest of the cast, I’m not sure it’s entirely his fault, but he exudes no Dumbledore charisma whatsoever. It’s too bad.

Boston Bleg

Filed under:It's My Life — posted by Anwyn on September 12, 2007 @ 12:04 pm

So there’s a big excuse to drink and ogleAce-worship fest going on this weekend. I’m not going. I’m too scared.

Instead I’ll head to Boston a few weeks from now, just for a weekend. Anybody spent time in Boston? Got any don’t-miss sights, restaurants, activities?

I’ve already got my eye on the Freedom Trail for some of the biggie historical stuff, and I want to see whatever there is of the John Adams homeplace. Other than that I haven’t done much research yet, so lay it on me.

Don’t tell me to go to Fenway. Five hours out of the 48+ I have to spend there is probably going to be a bit more than I want to devote to baseball, historic though it may be. I cut my fandom teeth going to Wrigley. Fenway can wait a little longer. I may change my mind, but believe me, it’s already on the radar. Tell me about everything else, whether well known or obscure–history, culture, food, scenery.

I Honor the Memory

Filed under:9/11 — posted by Anwyn on September 11, 2007 @ 10:34 pm

Never forget.

“What Did You Just Say?”

Filed under:Movies — posted by Anwyn on September 10, 2007 @ 3:08 pm

“Crystal … duck … ?”

No, crystal skull, as in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Eah. They’ve been getting title ideas from some of the wrong places, apparently.

But the title won’t bother me nearly as much as some of the rumors E! news is floating.

Other possibilities include the British-born Hurt taking over where a now-retired Sean Connery left off as Indy’s father in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (or playing Albert Einstein, depending on whom you ask); Broadbent playing a bumbling yet useful sidekick à la Denholm Elliot’s Professor Marcus Brody; and Spielberg’s missus, Kate Capshaw, returning as Temple of Doom gal Willie Scott.

Well, yeah, I suppose that everything and everybody ever in it before could come back, but that’s not a good basis for even a rumor. If Indy’s dad is in the script with a different actor behind him, though, I may not bother.

In other news, Karen Allen’s back in, which make’s E!’s bundle of rumors that much weirder: Kate Capshaw back in as well? As I recall, Capshaw’s character’s main weapon is a scream that could curdle milk, while Allen hits people over the head with heavy stuff. No contest.

Update: Both E! and I should look at the frickin’ IMDb page before we post. John Hurt’s character is Abner Ravenwood, not Indy’s dad, and nobody will believe me now but I thought it possible that he would be playing a flashback version of Marion’s dad before I saw E!’s nonsense. Very well then.

How Will You Spend 9/11?

Filed under:9/11,Religion — posted by Anwyn on September 8, 2007 @ 12:04 am

I will be going about my usual life, with some thoughts of those who were killed in the horrendous attack and some thoughts for those who are working to dispel lies.

What I will not be doing is going over to Bilal Mosque, the same folks who sent their friendly neighborhood outreach representative to my church, for an “open house” that my church invites us to attend in our latest newsletter.

On Behalf of Bilal Mosque, we would like to invite you all to our sixth annual 9/11 commemoration and open house at Bilal Mosque. We started this open house right after 9-11 mostly to answer questions on Islam and related issues.

Since then it has become a yearly ritual. We hope our friends, neighbors, any one who is interested — will drop by, share some food, ask questions, have a dialogue, pray for peace and justice and generally get to know one another.

I get the feeling it’s time to start church shopping. Or maybe just become one of those “spiritual, but not religious” people I keep reading about.

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace